Like it or not – no matter who you are, how critical you think your job is or the number of responsibilities you have outside of the office – you require seven hours of sleep a night. Anything less on a consistent basis will likely compromise your health, happiness and tranquility.
The holidays add another layer of stress and excitement to our busy lives. It’s easy to get caught up in a cyclone of activity and catapult headfirst into the New Year. getAbstract’s library is teeming with books, articles and videos on how to work more efficiently and improve your relationships with co-workers and bosses. Sometimes, though, we need to step off the hamster wheel and take an introspective look at our lifestyle – before the negative consequences take hold.
In the midst of a sleep-loss epidemic
Three of getAbstract’s most popular offerings in 2017 deal specifically with the subject of sleep and its vital importance.
“We are in the midst of a ‘catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic,’ the consequences of which are far graver than any of us could imagine,” writes journalist Rachel Cooke in Sleep Should Be Prescribed, a summarized article from The Guardian. “This situation … is only likely to change if government gets involved.”
Tiredness not only can lead to medical problems, such as elevated sugar levels, obesity and high blood pressure, but causes workplace mishaps and automobile accidents, according to Tara Parker-Pope in her New York Times piece, How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep.
“Tired people are not happy, healthy or safe,” she writes.
Media mogul Arianna Huffington, reflecting on her physical breakdown in 2007, says she now understands that sleep is “a fundamental human need.” In The Sleep Revolution, the co-founder and president of Huffington Post Media Group admits that navigating through life at breakneck speed, always fearing that some opportunity will be lost, is a recipe for disaster.
Do you know how much sleep you need?
Science has documented the effects of sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue for decades. According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns should get 14 to 17 hours a night, teenagers eight to 10 hours, adults up to age 65, seven to nine hours, and “older adults” seven to eight hours.
Sleep, it seems, has dropped a notch or two on our priority lists. Workplace demands, family responsibilities and leisurely pursuits certainly require a certain number of hours. But the juggling act becomes trickier when we feel compelled to obey the siren call of our electronic devices. For many of us, shutting off the phone as we head to the bedroom is an extraordinary challenge.
There are numerous well-known remedies for helping to ensure a restful night’s sleep:
• No smartphones or TVs in the bedroom – the light acts as a stimulant.
• Don’t drink coffee or alcohol or eat before bedtime.
• Try to leave your worries at the door; meditation may help.
Those with medical problems that contribute to chronic exhaustion should see a doctor. But for most of us, getting the proper rest requires a re-ordering of priorities and a conscious decision to make sleep something that really matters. It may be the best holiday gift you’ve ever given yourself.