Do I Need Medication or More Sleep? A Review of America's Public Health Crisis

By Jessica Bullock | Mar 12, 2023

We are officially in the middle of a public health epidemic. According to the CDC, 1 out of 3 Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and many reports that they are unsatisfied with their quality of life. The group of Americans reported to suffer the most from this crisis are African American adults aged 40-59. Teens are the second big group at risk. They reportedly need 8 -11 hours of sleep, and only 30% of teens get proper rest. 

 

There are so many problems that are caused by sleep deprivation. These problems range from the inability to concentrate, irritability, mood swings, and depression. These problems mimic the signs and symptoms of most mood disorders. The number of mistakes at work and automobile crashes daily are due to impaired functioning. So before you start looking for medication, you should begin a self-assessment regarding resting hours and sleep needs. According to the National Institute of Health, adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep, but most Americans report getting 6 hours or less. What would your life be like if you prioritized proper sleep times?

 

Some of the benefits of sleeping are: 

  • Stress Reduction
  • Removal of more toxins in your brain during sleep hours
  • Reduced risk of physical illness
  • Sharper concentration and memory 
  • Reduced Mood Swings
  • More extraordinary ability to regulate emotion

(Statistics can be found at health.gov)

 

So do you need medication?

The simple answer is maybe. There is a possibility that your sleep issue can co-occur with mental health issues- or- the sleep deprivation could be causal. But before you go and look for a psychiatrist and get on a medication regimen, look at your sleep hygiene routine. If you don’t have one, create one. Insomnia and Sleep deprivation are dangerous and can even mimic signs of mania in bipolar patients. 

 

The CDC offers these tips to improve your sleep: 

  • Make sure that your room is dark, comfortable, and feels relaxing. I would strongly suggest blackout curtains if the sun causes interference. 
  • Try to avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before you go to sleep. 
  • Remove intelligent devices from your bedroom. Getting into a routine of reading or listening to music can be helpful. 
  • Exercise has so many benefits, but it helps to aid in rest. 

 

Hopefully, you can improve your sleep hygiene. This will assist your therapist and psychiatrist diagnose you properly so that your treatment plan and medication regimen can target the issues you are experiencing. 

About The Author

Since 2010, Jessica has been the CEO and Founder of LIFE OPTIONS COUNSELING & CONSULTING (www.betterlifeoptions.org), where she and her team have served thousands of families and individuals. She is passionate about bringing education and research that highlight BIPOC communities. Jessica also enjoys working as a consultant for counseling centers and churches, serves as a board member of several nonprofit organizations, including the National Association of Black Counselors, and teaches. She graduated with her second Master’s Degree at Seton Hall University and is working on her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. You can find her on the Clinicians of Color Therapist site at www.cliniciansofcolor.org. 

 



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Jessica Bullock

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