There’s a good chance that if you ask your co-worker how he or she is feeling when first arriving at work, you’ll probably hear something like, “I’m so tired.” It’s a common response to a common issue– sleep deprivation.
With all of our commuting to and from work and other activities, like trying to get caught up on housework, or even guilty pleasures like staying up late to binge watch the newest Netflix series, most of us aren’t getting nearly as much sleep as we should. In a recent study on sleep deprivation, 95% of participants say they wish they got more sleep each night, while a shocking one-third get five hours or less at a time! It’s safe to say that sleep deprivation has reached an all-new high, and if we don’t get more sleep soon, we’ll all feel the repercussions.
The Power of Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation reports that adults, ages 18-64, should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Getting a good night’s sleep sounds like an impossible feat for lots of folks, from new parents or college students to high school kids with lots of extracurricular activities. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, and many of us are willing to sacrifice sleep. But sleep is necessary for a reason– it keeps us functioning so we can actually get it all done. If you’ve been regularly willing to cut your sleep short, think again. A good night’s sleep can:
- Reduce Health Risks: Having a consistent sleep schedule of the recommended hours can help reduce the risk of certain health risks, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even issues related to obesity.
- Reduce Pain: Individuals who suffer from chronic pain often struggle with sleep. However, individuals who are able manage their pain enough to sleep longer and better are then (ironically enough), able to manage their chronic pain easier.
- Affect Mind & Mood: How many times have you been short on sleep and felt “out of it” or just really grumpy the next day? When you don’t get enough sleep, your emotional health can be greatly altered, as well as your cognitive abilities. Stick with a solid sleep schedule and you’ll be sharper, happier and a healthier, with a well-rested brain.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
A poor night of sleep can make you feel edgy, foggy, unable to focus, or otherwise unable to perform your regular daily tasks. Sleep deprivation is responsible for preventable accidents in the workplace and thousands of car accidents each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 5,000 to 6,000, (a conservative count) of vehicle accidents each year occur due to a drowsy driver. Lack of sleep can affect your driving in a similar way to being under the influence of alcohol. Nodding off for a few seconds while behind the wheel can change your life (or someone else’s) forever.
Take Charge, Get Sleep
If you struggle to get good sleep, first examine your routine. Are you drink too much caffeine, particularly late in the day? Do you do too many things in a day that force you to sacrifice sleep? Do you need to cope with your stress in new ways? Do you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder? Even making minor changes in your life can help you get a better night’s sleep, which can change everything. If you are concerned about how sleep loss may be affecting your health, talk with your doctor.
Stop hurting your mind, body, and relationships. Relax. Get more sleep.