Make Sleep Priority #1
Are you aware we spend one-third of our life asleep?
As adults, we should get seven to nine hours of sleep. During the first year, newborns and infants sleep 12 to 17 hours of their day. How is it then that Americans are severely sleep deprived?
Perhaps the prevalence of electronic devices and 24/7 access to the Internet is to blame. Maybe it’s our careers and family responsibilities. Health issues takes a toll on sleep as well. Back in 1942, 80 percent of American adults got seven to nine hours of sleep on average; today it’s less than 60 percent.
- One-third of all adults don’t get the recommended seven hours of nightly sleep.
- Twenty percent have a sleep disorder.
- Sleep deprivation could be linked to obesity and depression.
- 45 to 54-year-olds are getting the least sleep.
- Excessive sleepiness is primarily caused by self-imposed sleep deprivation.
Surprising Facts About Sleep:
- Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
- Falling asleep should take 10 to 15 minutes. You’re probably sleep-deprived if you fall asleep within 5 minutes of hitting the pillow.
- On average, people have four to six dreams a night but won’t recall 99% of them.
- The most popular sleep position is the fetal position; the healthiest option is sleeping on your back.
- Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for 90 million American adults.
- Staying up all night to study actually reduces our ability to remember new facts by 40 percent.
- Sleep might make you happier. Sleeping an extra 60 to 90 minutes per night makes most Americans happier, safer, and healthier.
So what can you do to improve sleep health?
- Make sleep a priority. A recent poll showed two-thirds of people recognize getting enough rest makes them more effective, yet sleep is fourth in priority behind fitness/nutrition, work, and hobbies/personal interests.
- Adopt a consistent bedtime and rising schedule. The body functions more effectively when a waking-and-sleeping pattern is established and followed seven days a week.
- Create a restful retreat. The bedroom should be quiet, dark, and comfortably cool for sleep.
- Remove portable electronics from the sleeping environment. It’s suggested all televisions, smartphones, computers, and mobile devices should be shut down in the bedroom. Exposure to blue light stimulates the brain and suppresses brainwaves that promote sleep. To prepare for sleep, turn off electronics an hour before retiring. Lower the lights, read a physical book or write in a journal.
- Avoid large meals and stimulants. Large meals and caffeine should be consumed at least four to six hours before bedtime. Alcohol may help some individuals fall asleep faster, but it is disruptive to restorative deep REM sleep.
- Exercise regularly to sleep better at night. Longer and deeper sleep helps boost immunity, supports cardiac function, and controls stress and anxiety.
What’s the takeaway from this?
Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise. Good sleep habits support optimal brain, heart, and lung function and rejuvenate mood, immunity, metabolism, and much more! Importantly, quality sleep heightens our ability to function productively and safely during waking hours.
If we are to accomplish our goals and have productive days, turn off the lights and get some sleep!