Americans Not Getting Enough Sleep

“In that sleep of death what dreams may come …,” mused William Shakespeare in “Hamlet.”

For some folks in the modern world, death may come sooner than necessary, all because they’re not getting enough sleep when they’re alive.

The general scientific consensus is that most people should get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but a 2013 Gallup poll reported that 40 percent of Americans get less than seven hours — a situation that has persisted since the ’90s. On average, Americans sleep 6.8 hours, an hour less than they got in 1942.

We’re told that the lack of sleep shortens our lives and damages health in many ways. Also, making office workers show up at 9 a.m. (allowing for commute time, many probably get up two to three or more hours before that) may be downright torturous, according to Dr. Paul Kelly of Oxford University,.

But, research also reveals that our distant ancestors got less sleep than we do. Studies of remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa and South America record that they sleep about 6.5 hours, mostly during the coldest time of the night.

So, maybe shutting off the heat or cranking the A/C, then hitting the sheets when the temp bottoms out, might be the time-tested method to putting off that sleep of death as long as possible.