Healthy Living

Are We Becoming a Nation of Zombies?

Are We Becoming a Nation of Zombies?

Sleep and its benefits have always been on the minds of overtired Americans. However, the latest sleep product craze is becoming an incredibly booming business. Commercials on pillows that track your sleep patterns and beds that adjust based on how restless you are throughout the night are all over media. Devices that measure and claim to improve your quality of sleep are continuously advertised on commercials, online, and in magazines.

All these gadgets may help, but aren't they really just “hype?”

People are boasting how much they spend for a mattress and what the mattress does. Marian Salzman, CEO Of Haas PR North American says, “Sleep is the new status symbol.”

Customers like Frank Ribitch from Martinez, California and someone who loves gadgets says, "I'm willing to spend more on sleep technology because it will hopefully help me fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer and be more rested when I wake up."  Frank currently watches his sleep patterns with sleep apps connected to a Zeeq pillow and a Sleep Number bed.

Federal officials claim that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. More than one-third of American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, and studies show that insufficient sleep causes issues like diabetes and obesity, which are at epidemic proportions.

A study published by the Rand Corporation says that the financial loss to U.S. companies who have sleep-deprived employees cost the economy up to $411 billion a year.

The American Heart Association says that less than six hours a night of sleep doubles the risk of death for those with metabolic syndrome. The risk factors of metabolic syndrome include diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. 

"There's a lot of hypotheses as to why this might be. We know that lack of sleep can change brain areas like the hypothalamus and hormone secretion to potentially increase appetite. [It] can turn on your sympathetic nervous system, the 'fight or flight,' which could raise your blood pressure," Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Northwell Health, said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." "It can change hormones secretion like growth hormone and cortisol, your stress hormone, that could cause imbalances in your glucose metabolism and regulation."

Metabolic syndrome means you have at least three of five specific symptoms, and most Americans have one or more of them. These symptoms are::

  • Elevated or enlarged waist circumference
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol)
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar

Finding solutions to this problem is becoming a successful initiative for big corporations across the nation. For example, recently Apple Inc. bought Beddit, a Finland-based company, which makes apps and sleep monitoring devices placed under the sheets of your bed. The sensor sells for $150 and watches your sleep patterns the moment you lay down on top of the mattress. It studies the portion of time you are in bed sleeping, and the app also monitors heart rate, movement, temperature, and snoring. However, it doesn't measure the time you use reading and watching TV right before you sleep.

Read on to learn more about what big corporations in the U.S. are doing to slow down this sleep-deprived nation.