Kerri Flanagan shared that if you suffer from sleep disturbances, you’re certainly not alone. Sleep issues, particularly insomnia, have become quite prevalent in recent decades. In fact, according to the American Sleep Association, approximately 30% of Americans experience acute insomnia, and 10% suffer from chronic insomnia.
Modern treatments for insomnia are often no more than band-aid solutions, with some even bordering on unhealthy and dangerous (Ambien, for instance, has gained quite the reputation for its long list of bizarre side effects). That hasn’t stopped people from spending a significant amount of money seeking the elusive perfect night’s sleep. The global sleep economy, which includes everything from mattresses and pillows to sleeping pills and sleep apps, is valued at almost $500 billion.
The message there is that people want to sleep better, but they’re struggling to make it happen. Enter red light therapy. Researchers have been busy studying the vast (and growing!) list of benefits of red light therapy in the past couple of decades, and one of their discoveries is that it appears to be beneficial for a good night’s sleep. In this article, we’ll look at the importance of sleep, the various factors that can affect it, and how you can improve your sleep with red light therapy, safely and naturally.
WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT?
In the past few years, experts have begun highlighting sleep as an important factor in a number of health issues. In fact, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to the following health problems:
- Weight gain and obesity;
- Weakened immunity;
- High blood pressure;
- Heart disease;
- Mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Poor work and academic performance;
- Premature aging.
Poor sleep is also correlated with a significant increase in traffic accidents and workplace injuries and has been shown to negatively affect the economy, with countries losing billions to absenteeism and lower productivity.
And yet, despite knowing all this, Americans are getting less sleep than ever. Adults generally need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to maintain good health and functioning, and yet 35.5% of US adults are getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night. Teens need even more sleep, generally between 9 and 9.5 hours, to help with their cognitive development. Despite this, close to 75% are clocking fewer than 8 hours per night.