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University Health doctor says Americans sleeping less, more stressed

Dr Bhat sleep health.jpg
Posted at 10:13 PM, Apr 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New national poll reveals Americans are sleeping less and feeling more stressed.

The Gallup Poll found only about 25% of Americans say they’re getting eight hours of sleep.

VOICE FOR EVERYONE | Share your voice with KSHB 41’s Megan Abundis

The poll also states women get less sleep than men.

It found 36% of women get the sleep they need while 48% of men get enough sleep.

Those numbers are the lowest in years.

KSHB 41 News showed the poll results to a University Health doctor.

Dr. Abid Bhat says sleep is always the thing people compromise, but that's not healthy.

“Sleep is the best cleanser,” said Dr. Bhat, University Health Sleep Medicine. "People who don’t sleep well tend to feel tired, cranky, irritable, foggy and they don’t want to do anything. They want to, but they don’t have the energy or the desire to do these things. Sleep can be impacted in a newborn, a toddler a high school student, pregnant women, females or males. No one is immune to sleep issues."

He isn’t surprised Americans aren’t sleeping.

“50% of women in menopause have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, fatigue, tiredness, and poor sleep quality, mainly because of altered hormones,” he said.

Dr. Bhat sees patients at University Health and also teaches sleep health at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

He wants people to know what’s at risk when people don't get enough sleep.

“Long-term impacts are even more significant," he said. "Lack of sleep can lead to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, depression, and diabetes. It can impact your personal life, social life, your marital life, your occupational effect, and the sad part is, we’re still not talking about it."

He says cell phones are the main problem.

“There are studies that show when she or he brings in their cell phone to the bedroom is going to lose 35-45 minutes of sleep,” he said. “Our bedrooms are no longer bedrooms. When we step into our bedrooms, we have phones, computers, and laptops and the connection between sleep and the bedroom is diluted.”

The light shining on your face and the stress from what you are reading or looking at does not help.

He also says snoring is something you can easily address.

“Many people presume for snoring testing you need to stay the night in a facility, but things have changed," he said. You can stay at home in your own bed and do the test. Things have gotten simpler."

He says sleep should be where you slow down.

“Let’s make sleep simple, right,” he said.

Dr. Bhat says an hour before bed do something you enjoy to calm yourself.

He says eight hours of sleep isn’t always ideal for everyone.

While most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep, Dr. Bhat says you should test yourself to see what you need.

Dr. Bhat recommends not to set an alarm for seven nights before you go to bed.

He says when you wake up is when you wake up, and that will allow you to understand the fully allotted sleep time needed on average.