By Kelli Murray 

As parents we strive very hard to ensure our kids get enough sleep. From the time we bring them home from the hospital we do our best to ensure our kids are well rested, since we know what can happen when they’re not! Tired kids are cranky and miserable and downright mean sometimes, and most households will tell you that making sure their kids have a regular bedtime that ensures they get adequate sleep is one of the most important parts of parenting.

And while parents are busy making sure their kids are getting to bed at a reasonable hour and getting enough sleep every night, they often disregard their own sleep needs. The Center for Disease Control suggests that adults get 7 hours of sleep every night, and not only is the quantity of sleep they’re getting important, but so is the quality. Despite knowing how important sleep is for children, as many as 1 in 3 adults aren’t getting enough sleep themselves each night according to the CDC.

Not only does getting an adequate amount of sleep a night affect your mood and overall productiveness, but how much sleep you get, or don’t get, can affect your health. Science Daily notes that men who sleep less than 5 hours a night have twice the risk of developing a major cardiovascular event during the following two decades than men who are getting the recommended 7 or 8 hours a night.

Not only does sleep deprivation cause irritability and affect mood, but Healthline notes that it can affect reaction time, affect memorym cause depression and can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Adults who aren’t getting enough sleep often aren’t aware of the risks they’re exposing themselves to by simply not sleeping enough.

A study published in Scientific Reports shows the importance of adults maintaining a regulated sleep schedule for the good of their health. Lead study author Jessica Lunsford-Avery, PhD, assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, told Healthline the study looked at adults’ sleep and wake patterns throughout a day.

“The more irregular these sleep patterns, the higher the risk for obesity, hypertension, and elevated blood sugar, and the higher the projected risk of developing heart disease over the next decade,” she said. “This suggests that keeping bed and wake times as consistent as possible may have benefits for health.”

While it may not be realistic to set a strict bedtime for yourself or the other adults in your home, it is beneficial to note that getting enough sleep is just as important as eating right and exercising, and adults need to do what they can to ensure they prioritize their own rest as well as their kids’.

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