Sleep — it's something most American adults don't get enough of. Less than a third of Americans are getting those zzz's and achieving restorative sleep.
A new study out of Germany found that while humans technically don't hibernate in the cold months, we do something else — we sleep longer. Researchers found for most people, REM sleep is 30 minutes longer in the wintertime than any other season.
"One has heard over the years that people do sleep more in the winter," said University of Pennsylvania Director of Chronobiology and Sleep Institute Amita Sehgal. "And I don't think it's because they have more sleep need. I think it's that they have more sleep opportunity."
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The sleep expert says we're sleeping more in the winter time because we're catching up from sleep deprivation during warmer months. The sunlight, great weather and fun activities during the summer are distracting us from that much-needed beauty rest.
"By all means, sleep as much as you can in the winter," Sehgal continued. "Catch up on all the sleep you've lost, but try to do that in the summer as well."
A study by mattress company Zoma found Americans were ranked 14th when it comes to sleep time compared to the other 36 countries it examined.
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"Some would argue that because of this new study, maybe schools, societies or work should time things a little bit better for the average person," Cat Sandoval of Scripps News said.
"So we've been saying that for years. The school time is way, way too early for high schoolers because adolescents are always delayed in their circadian rhythms. So, they have a tendency to stay up late, or at night go to bed late. And so, for them to be going to school so early, they are losing a lot of sleep," Sehgal said.
"Sleep is not dispensable. People seem to think that that's the one thing they can cut out of their lives and be more productive. But it is going to affect your function. It's going to affect your health," Sehgal said.