Your sleep habits are an indicator of your overall health and well-being.
“45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days.”The National Sleep Foundation’s Inaugural Sleep Health Index
Americans report sleeping an average of 7 hours and 36 minutes.
Even though this average is within the 7-9 hour recommended sleep range according to the Sleep Duration Recommendation chart below, 35% report sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair” with 20% reporting that they don’t wake up feeling refreshed.
This means that Americans report good sleep quantity, but not quality.
What about this sleep debt? As soon as we start cutting hours, supplementing our sleep with stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks and external lights, our circadian rhythm (natural sleep/wake cycle) becomes affected, and we start moving into this state of sleep debt.
Just like financial debt, our sleep debt can take its toll. When this debt adds up, our reaction time slows down leading to more mistakes in the workplace, and in turn making driving more dangerous.
There is no substitute for good sleep!
Cleaning Up Your Sleep Routine
To pay back this debt, start by cleaning up your sleep routine. Adding one or more of these habits to your routine can start to move you towards better reaction time, increased work productivity and overall more energy!
- Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
- Stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule
- Neglect that snooze, wake up when the alarm wakes you up
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Exercise daily
- Relax before bed with a hot bath or a good book instead of electronics (electronic use can interfere with sleep)
- A daytime nap can also help catch you back up, even if it is 15 minutes mid-day
- And most importantly, get adjusted!
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”Irish Proverb