Seventy million Americans are affected by sleeping loss and sleeping disorders. Sleeplessness can lead to accidents, injuries, depression, and an inability to handle work responsibilities. Dr. Lela McKnight-Eily discusses sleeping loss and sleeping disorders and their negative effects on health, including diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety. Created: 2/29/2008 by MMWR.
Date Released: 3/6/2008. Series Name: A Cup of Health with CDC.
A CUP OF HEALTH WITH CDC
No Rest for the Weary
Prevalence of Perceived or Insufficient Rest or Sleep by Days in the Past Month
Among U.S. Adults in Four States — BRFSS, 2006
March 6, 2008
[Announcer] This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC — safer,
[Ana Benson] Welcome to A Cup of Health with CDC, a weekly feature of the MMWR,
the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. I’m Ana Benson, your host for this week.
Are you having problems sleeping at night? Rest assured you’re not alone. Seventy
million Americans — myself included — are walking the floor or staring at the ceiling
right along with you. Lack of sleep is a silent epidemic that can lead to other problems
besides just dozing off during a business meeting. Sleeplessness can lead to accidents,
injuries, depression, and an inability to handle work responsibilities.
Dr. Lela McKnight-Eily is a researcher with CDC’s National Center on Chronic Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion. Dr. McKnight-Eily is joining us today to discuss ways
we can get a better night’s sleep. Welcome to the show, Dr. McKnight-Eily.
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] Thank you, Ana.
[Ana Benson] How did CDC come to recognize lack of rest or sleep as a serious public
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] CDC has long recognized the importance of sleep on overall health
and its relationship to both chronic diseases and sleep-related accidents. The
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the National Health Interview Survey
both contain sleep-related questions.
[Ana Benson] So then what’s the difference between an occasional bad night’s sleep
and a more serious sleep disorder?
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] Ana, anyone can have an occasional bad night’s sleep. A sleep
disorder tends to be characterized by a cluster of signs and symptoms that occur, such
as difficulty sleeping or waking, sleep disorder breathing, or abnormal movements of the
[Ana Benson] Then tell us about the negative effects on health caused by a lack of rest
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] Sure. Sleeping loss and sleeping disorders are associated with
several physical and mental health problems, including diabetes, obesity, depression,
[Ana Benson] What causes sleeping problems?
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] Well, there’s several causes of sleeping problems, including
occupational factors such as extended work hours or shift work; lifestyle factors, such
as using the Internet or TV; and also actual sleeping disorders, such as insomnia.
[Ana Benson] Well then, can you recommend some steps that a person can take to
overcome this problem?
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] Sure. First of all, just following the recommended sleep guidelines
for adults — sleeping an average of seven to nine hours per night. Second, maintaining
a regular sleep schedule or time to go to sleep and to wake. Third, avoiding caffeine,
nicotine, or alcohol several hours before going to sleep. And fourth, seeing a doctor if
there are concerns about chronic sleep loss. There are both effective behavioral and
medical interventions for persons with sleeping disorders.
[Ana Benson] Great tips. Where can our listeners go to get more information about
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] www.cdc.gov/sleep.
[Ana Benson] Thank you, Dr. McKnight-Eily, for sharing this valuable information with
our listeners today.
[Dr. McKnight-Eily] Thank you.
[Ana Benson] OK everyone. That’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to join us next week.
Until then, sweet dreams and be well. This is Ana Benson for A Cup of Health with
[Announcer] For the most accurate health information, visit www.cdc.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO, 24/7.