Skill Introduction – Sleep Better
How much sleep do you need anyway? While everyone is different, most experts agree that adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to function well. If you aren’t able to stay alert and awake during the day without caffeine, you probably aren’t getting enough shut-eye (1).
Insomnia can contribute to depression and obesity and interfere with the immune system’s ability to fight disease. Insomnia also contributes to health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 Diabetes (1).
- 50-70 million adults in the United States have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders (2)
- More than 35% of those surveyed slept for less than 7 hours each night (2)
- Almost 40% of adults surveyed accidentally fell asleep during the day at least once during a 30-day period (2)
- Almost 5% of adults surveyed admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once during a 30-day period (2)
- Americans spent $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015 (1)
Being able to get into a “deep sleep” is just as important as how long your total night’s sleep is. During slow wave, or deep sleep, the body repairs itself, grows, boosts the immune system and builds up energy for the next day (3). REM sleep (rapid eye movement) is important for the brain as this is where it gathers and processes information from the day to store in long term memory (3).
There are a number of reasons we don’t sleep, including certain medications and medical conditions. Another reason we seem to be sleeping less is because we are working longer hours and the time at home we should be using to wind down, we are using to catch up on personal, household items like paying bills and answering emails (1). We also stay up later for entertainment purposes, watching television shows and playing video or computer games (1). Blue light from electronics prevents restful sleep for hours after you walk away from the light. Sometimes what we eat and drink keeps us up at night, as does exercising too late and being overwhelmed and stressed.
Talk to your doctor if you believe a medical condition or medication is interfering with your sleep. You might have poor sleep habits, however, and by identifying these sleep blockers you can regain control over your zzzzz’s and put the pep back in your step.
During the Zero to Healthy Human challenges for this skill, you will be guided step by step from switching out your sleep-disrupting habits to becoming a sleeping better master.
Dig Deeper and Learn More:
- Consumer Reports, why Americans can’t sleep, Accessed November 6th, 2018 <https://www.consumerreports.org/sleep/why-americans-cant-sleep/>
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2011), Unhealthy sleep related behaviors – 12 states, 2009, Accessed November 6, 2018, <https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm6008.pdf>
- Sleep.org, Understanding sleep cycles: what happens while you sleep, Accessed November 6th, 2018 < https://www.sleep.org/articles/what-happens-during-sleep/>