Spring is in the air! And with the warmer temperatures and budding flora comes another hallmark of the season: Daylight Saving Time. This year, March 12 is the night we turn the clocks back, cheering later sunsets while bemoaning the loss of a precious hour of sleep.
Not coincidentally, it’s also the kick-off to Sleep Awareness Week. Sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity to discover ways we can improve this critical component of our overall wellbeing.
The Importance of Sleep
Not so long ago, there was a time when Americans would pride themselves on their ability to get through the day with as little sleep as possible. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” was a common refrain heard from dedicated employees, college students, and busy parents alike. Fortunately, we are beginning to wake up (pun intended) to the real dangers of chronic sleep deprivation, including heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, among others. Even minor sleep disruptions can lead to a lack of focus on the job and in school; drowsy driving; behavior challenges; and higher chances of serious injury from accidents.
Despite increased awareness of the importance of sleep, challenges remain. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. The National Institutes of Health report that nearly 40% of adults unintentionally fall asleep during the day at least once a month, and between 50 and 70 million people have chronic sleep disorders.
Even if we don’t suffer from a chronic disorder, quality sleep can often be elusive in our bustling world. Sometimes it seems the only opportunity we have to slow down and think about our stressors is when our head hits the pillow at night — which then results in hours of rumination rather than rest.
What Can We Do?
Here are several tips we can take to help improve our sleep:1
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends — and allow at least seven to nine hours for sleep.
- Avoid eating two to three hours before going to bed.
- Power down devices.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment: cool, comfortable, and dark.
- Address any health-related issues that might contribute to the loss of sleep, such as sleep apnea.
Join SimplaFYI at our FREE, 30-minute Discover event, The Wellbeing Link to Sleep, on Saturday, March 18 at 11 am EST. Click here to register! Discover how to make the most of your snooze.
1The Chicago Council on Science and Technology
Carol Swanson contributes her skillful writing to the financial and health & wellbeing sectors. She can be reached at: [email protected]