Sleep: The Golden Ticket

Raise your hand if you could use a more sleep at night. I am pretty sure most of us would say yes; even if it was just an hour more.

So many of us find ourselves not living as healthy as we would like to. We wished we ate a little better, meal prepped each week, found time for meditation, yoga, a good run or hard workout, but many of us don’t always go to the root of the problem. Often times we would have the energy for all of the above and could conquer our day if we just had more rest. So how come it is always the last thing that we prioritize?

Check out these intense statistics on sleep and sleep deprivation:

Sleep Disorder Statistics:

50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder.
48.0% report
37.9% reported unintentionally
 falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month.
4.7% reported nodding off or
 falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.
Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.
Insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder, with short term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%
25 Million U.S. adults have
 obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep Deprivation Statistics:

37% of 20-39-year-olds report short sleep duration
40% of 40-59-year-olds report
 short sleep duration
35.3% adults report <7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period.
 deaths occur each year in US hospitals due to medical errors and sleep deprivation have been shown to make a significant contribution.

Sleep Needs by Age Group:

Adult: 7 – 9 hours
Teenager: 8 – 10 hours
Child 6 – 12 years: 9- 12 hours
Child 3 – 5 years:  10 – 13 hours (including naps)
Child 1 – 2 years: 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
Infants 4 -12 months: 12 – 16 hours (including naps)

You may prioritize sleep already. You may always feel rested when you wake. That’s awesome! I like sleep as a good starting point for getting your health back on track because it’s comfortable and warm. It’s relaxing and easy when you let it happen. It falls within the practice of “work smarter and not harder”. If you push it too hard and stress through the day, then rest. Don’t think your solution is to push it harder. Take opportunities to lower stress whenever you can. The obvious is to get a good night’s sleep. How are your sleep habits? Do you feel rested when you wake? Do you need caffeine after a good 8-hour sleep? Does that make sense? Why do you need caffeine to wake when you just rested and should have recharged the battery for the new day?

Our body yearns for routine and schedules. For just one week make sleep your priority. Set an alarm an hour before you want to be asleep. (If you are an iPhone user there is actually a setting in your alarm that already does this! Cool!) When the alarm goes off, stop what you’re doing, close down the house, and go to bed. I realize that this may be difficult if you have crazy work hours or have families to take care of, but chances are if you are sleep deprived, they may be too? Try shifting all the bedtimes to a half hour earlier. If the kids are in bed earlier, then maybe you could be too? I may be painting the picture of a utopian world, but sleep is the cornerstone for health. It is the Golden Ticket! Take a good hard look at your schedule and adjust it accordingly. Everything in life will get brighter. You deserve it!

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