Back in 2009, a study was carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that targeted over 70,000 Americans to ascertain how bad sleeping habits in America are. The results were very discouraging.
More than 33% of the participants stated that they were getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night and 38% admitted to dozing off, accidentally, during the day at least once during the past month. 10% of Americans are struggling with insomnia and millions more are suffering from some form of sleep disorder.
The overall effects of sleeplessness are grimmer than you might have thought. They have been linked with industrial disasters, car crashes and even nuclear reactor meltdowns along with the higher risk of obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer and early death. According to two social scientists in a recent issue of the Journal Psychological Science, this is a crisis that requires immediate fixing. They have come up with a five-point concrete policy suggestion that they believe will impart remedial measures like never before.
- Create national standards that make start times later for high schools and middle schools.
- Regulate working hours and schedules more strictly to allow for adequate sleep.
- Abolish daylight savings time, which has been shown to disrupt sleep.
- Launch a public education campaign to spread the word on the ill effects of nighttime device use.
- Make at-home testing for sleep disorders more accessible, since getting diagnosed is the first step to getting treated.
These suggestions do sound challenging and a bit too ambitious, however, “the investments involved in meeting those challenges will likely yield a very large payoff.” We have also made a list of things you can do (based on our authors’ experience) to help you catch a good night sleep.
1. Try to have dinner at least one (ideally 2-3) hours before you go to bed.
2. Stop using your electronic gadgets about 45 mins before you plan to hit the bed.
3. Turn your phone to lowest volume and vibration and place it upside down and far enough to not disturb you. (We’re placing it upside down to avoid the LED notification light caused disturbance).
4. Try reading for ten mins before you hit the bed.
5. Turn in to bed early, you’ll be amazed with the quality of sleep you can get if you sleep by 9.30-10 PM.
So try out these tips as a starting point and see how your energy returns and you feel more productive. Let us know your experiences in the comments section below.