40-year-olds are a sleepy bunch

40-year-olds are a sleepy bunch

The things we do for a good night’s sleep. We count sheep and avoid looking at the alarm clock. We buy expensive pillows to cradle our noggins. And you can get a decent used car for the cost of the high-end mattresses some of us own.

Still, surveys show that most Americans aren’t getting enough shut-eye in this stressful, noisy, demanding world.

Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia say the amount of time we sleep during our lifetime follows a U-shaped curve. That’s based on a study of the sleep patterns of 11,000 people. Children tend to be well-rested, spending more and more time awake as they age. We apparently hit rock bottom at age 40, getting less shut-eye during that decade of our life before the curve starts climbing again around age 50.

Scientists say sleep efficiency — the time we spend sleeping versus the time we set aside for bed — also decreases as we get older.

Just why 40-year-olds are the sleepiest among us is pretty clear. Researchers think it’s probably due to the fact that their lives are busier. In the fourth decade of our lives, we’re raising kids, building careers, staying physically active. Sleeping in is not an option.

Doctors warn us that getting enough sack time is essential to good health. Chronic insomnia weakens your immune system and threatens the heart. And nodding off on the job might irk your boss, whose displeasure will undoubtedly raise stress levels.

Sleep is at war with the thousand demands of modern living. Unfortunately, insomnia is winning. The experts say we need to work at sleep the same way we work out at the gym. The tide of battle can be turned. Dare we say, it’s time to go to the mattresses?

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