TODAY   |  December 05, 2013

Study: You may get less sleep than you realize

Carol Ash, director of sleep medicine at Meridian Health, talks about a new study that suggests that sleep-deprived Americans may not be catching as many winks as previously thought.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> mom, i'm lucky my daughter mila sleeps through the night. before i clock in about six, seven hours.

>> that sounds about right. six for me, too. that's short of the six-and-a-half hours you are supposed to get. so are we more tired than we think? megan murphy direct or of "self magazine." good morning to you both.

>> good morning.

>> the weather memo.

>> i'm still shocked over the fact that your daughter sleeps.

>> we are getting six-and-a-half, is that enough?

>> what's the number? is there a number we should be getting?

>> the range is seven to nine, six-and-a-half is definitely not enough. on average we need eight hours, we are very sleep deprived nation.

>> i like getting nine-and-a-half.

>> that's my perfect amount. even on vacation. i wake up early. i have to go to bed grandma special. you say this affects our health.

>> that's the crazy part. it makes your brain fuzzy. you are less alert. your reaction time is terrible. you can't remember everything. it does have an impact. the craziest thing is we don't realize how sleep deprived we are. that was the fascinating thing about this study in "self" magazine. they looked at groups of people. they didn't realize how low functioning they were.

>> you got some tips for people to sleep better tonight. let's go through these. one of them, probably, i don't know if a lot of people thought about this. lowering your thermometer 3 degrees lower than your day time normal.

>> it's a simple thing. you transition into sleep on a temperature drop and you maintain sleep in a cooler environment. so cooling your room could go a long way to helping you maintain qual of sleep.

>> the sweet spot is 68 degrees.

>> i like cooler. that's good to me. around the holidays, it's kind of bad, dicey. we're talking about drinking before we go to bed. whether whiskey like my man here or water you say try to cut down what you are drinking?

>> the problem is alcohol will help you sleep. what it does it disrupts the normal sleep patterns so you will have poor quality sleep. if you drink too much liquid before you go to bed you have to get up to go to the bathroom. avoid that.

>> there is sugar and wine.

>> you me ttabolize that.

>> you say an hour before bedtime, that's hard for people.

>> but make your bed a quiet space. if you need that time, do it on the couch. so when you get to bed, lights out. i'm trying to tell my husband, that includes the ipad. yes, it's smaller than a tv. a little bit of light okay. but for most of us it's a problem believe it or not, jenna.

>> hey, it's still daytime, why am i sleeping?

>> go back to the old faxed book.

>> we have to make sleep a priority. we kind of talk ourselves into i've learn e earned the right to sit here with this book. you got to get away with all that get to bed.

>> finally, i'm a huge fan of this fourth tip. it's the sound machine.

>> if you don't want to go the sound machine root. a fan. just the send e gentle like a lull a buy. it drowns out sirens if you are in the city. crickets in the country. a lullabye.

>> we all gain weight. the less you sleep the more you gain.

>> it about. s your brain's ability to stay away from those sugary foods.