HEALTHY LIVING
06/17/2011 08:46 am ET | Updated Aug 17, 2011

Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation

“You need to get a good night’s sleep,” is a mantra we’ve all heard countless times for years. Unfortunately though, it seems that as a collective, we haven’t absorbed it. A 1997 CNN article boldy declares “Lack of Sleep, America’s Top Health Problem” and it seems that little progress has been made in the 10+ years since.

A study published in the CDC’s weekly “Morbidity and Mortality Report” in March, revealed that one-third of Americans receive fewer than seven hours of sleep per night. According to Mayo Clinic, healthy adults consistently need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Children need even more.

According to Dr. David Rapoport, Director of the NYU Langone Sleep Disorder Center, in this piece by Better.TV, the hectic American lifestyle could be to blame for nationwide sleep deprviation. “Our lifestyle and the social forces on us have made us restrict the number of hours we spend in bed,” Dr. Rapoport says during his interview. And it turns out that sleep deprivation can be a serious -- and even deadly -- health issue. Not only does it slow you down physically, but it can also have a negative impact on your reaction time, which can prove fatal (say, if you’re driving).

Margaret Ragland, Health Director of Family Circle magazine, points out to the Better.TV team that lack of sleep tends to be an issue that plagues women more than it does men. Maybe it’s time to put the “Super Mom” mentality to rest -- literally. Ragland urges women (and men) to “Turn off those screens … [and] make your bedroom a haven.” She also suggests buying dark curtains and treating yourself to some luxurious sheets and pillows, as well as turning your bedroom thermostat to a comfortably cool 60 to 68 degrees.

Watch the full video to see what these experts had to say -- and to find out the four things you absolutely should not do before going to bed.