Do you struggle to get a good nights sleep? Well, you're not alone.
New studies from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester, and Surrey universities have found that people are sleeping almost two fewer hours a night than they were in the 1960s.
Professor Russell Foster at Oxford University told Independent.ie: "We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle. What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems."
Why are we sleeping so poorly?
According to a poll from DID Electrical, 75% of Irish people bring their smartphones to bed each night, meaning that only one-quarter of us switch off from our phones when we go to sleep.
The results come from a poll which also found that as much as 63% of more than 100 people polled categorised themselves as light sleepers, meaning that even the slightest noise or movement can wake them up.
This is particularly bad news considering that research from the University of Colorado found that poor sleep - which they define as less than seven hours a night - is linked to poor heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland, with 10,000 new cases each year.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Dr. Sara Gottfried said that sleep deprivation is a "health time bomb" and can often be attributed to our modern lifestyles.
"Our lives are more hectic than ever, more people live in cities where they're less attuned to light-dark cycles, we binge-watch TV shows, tablets and phones emit sleep-disrupting blue light all evening, it’s become normal for our bosses to email us at 9pm (they never could 20 years ago) and some of us even sleep with our phones — and not just the adults."
How much sleep do we need?
In 1960, the average sleep for an adult in the United States was 8.5 hours per night. Nowadays, the mean sleep is less than seven hours but do we really need a full eight hours each night?
"The eight-hour thing is a myth," Dr. Stanley told Independent.ie. "The amount of sleep you need is the amount that allows you to be awake, alert and focused during the day. If you are feeling sleepy during the day then there is most likely an issue with the quality of sleep that you've had during the night,"
However, just because you may not need a full eight hours doesn't mean you should neglect your rest. According to Dr. Stanley, sleep deprivation "suppresses immunity and leads to "less motivation, less empathy, slower reaction times, poor concentration and increased appetite."
For more information on sleep, click here.