Did you know that 1 in 3 people are chronically sleep-deprived? May not sound like a big deal, but that’s 33% of folks. We have 321 million people here in the United States. That’s just under 108 million people who are not getting enough sleep to support their lifestyles.
The recommendation is 7-9 hours of sleep. A sedentary person needs fewer, an active person needs more. But regardless of what side of the spectrum you are on, there are no studies that support that we as homo sapiens can thrive on fewer than seven hours of sleep. Can we survive? Sure. Can we “manage”? At the cost of negatively impacting the rest of our day’s productivity, mood, immune systems, and interest levels, sure. But we cannot thrive.
While sleeping, your body repairs the damages from the previous day(s). Without sufficient rest, your body cannot heal, and your immunity to common colds and other ailments decreases, your cortisol rises, thereby increasing stress and encouraging weight gain. There’s a risk of increased blood pressure and diabetes, decreased sex drive, and poor balance. Your body literally begins to stop working.
All of these sounds like a simple run-on list of ailments that can fade into white noise. Sleep’s important – you get it. But do you prioritize it?
If you feel you cannot prioritize your sleep because you have too much work to do, or your kids have too many after-school and weekend engagements, then those are REASONS to prioritize your sleep, not excuses to put it on the back burner.
How to prioritize it?
- Put it on your schedule like another appointment. If you had to go to work or drop your kids off at an after-school activity, you’d get it done even if it was inconvenient. So get it done.
- Go to sleep and wake up close to the same time daily.
- Avoid naps and the snooze button (to maintain circadian rhythm).
- Avoid late evening meals and snacks (to maintain circadian rhythm).
- Avoid late-night screen time/blue-light electronics (to maintain circadian rhythm).
I know these things are easier said than done. I am sorry this is not a short-cut answer. But there are none. Stop looking for them.
If you cannot figure out how to apply some of the things already discussed here on this post or on this blog, call us. Come in and see us.
But you MUST prioritize your health and sleep in order to continue to give to your work, your kids, your friends and family. Without a fully rested, healthy you, there is often not much left to give.
We do not want to be abrasive, but we do want to be clear.
Sleep is important. Prioritize it.