people posing for camera
Dr. Shaoyong Su, from left, Dr. Vaughn McCall and Dr. Xiaoling Wang

How America Sleeps

A graph of how long Americans sleep forms a U-shaped pattern across our lives, with age 40 being the low point and hours of sleep starting to creep back up about age 50, a team of Medical College of Georgia investigators found.

In the first national study to use detected movement — instead of just self-reporting — they found that sleep efficiency, which basically means how much of the time we devote to sleeping that we actually sleep, tends to decrease across our lifetime, but they were surprised to find efficiency stabilized from ages 30 to 60.

While insufficient sleep itself is a risk factor for a myriad of health problems from obesity to diabetes to cardiovascular disease, sleep complaints may also be an indication of mental or physical health problems.

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