Did you know that more than 1/3 of American adults (83.6 million people) are sleep deprived? The CDC calls this a "public health problem."
Obviously, lack of sleep is associated with a number of health impacts, including hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, reduced immune function, and just a general reduced quality of life and productivity.
It affects driving, too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. Yikes!
The amount of sleep we need changes as we age. Generally, a child needs 10 hours per night, whereas adults need 7 – 8 hours. However, as mentioned above 1/3 of adults reported regularly getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
So, what can we do to mitigate the lack of the sleep and ensure we take a proactive approach to keeping our bodies healthy? According to the CDC, the very best way to do it is to establish a regular bedtime routine. This is a great infographic from Huffington Post with information from the National Sleep Foundation. It sets out a nice nighttime routine that will help get your night off on the right track.
The highlights are:
-Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning
-Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime
-Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
-Make sleep a priority. You may feel that it is better to stay awake as long as you can and get as much done as you can during your waking hours. However, you are better off and will have better productivity if you get the sleep that you need.
-And if you feel like you can’t turn your brain off at night, try writing down your concerns, and maybe write down some steps you can take to solve the problem. Once you can get your concerns into some kind of action plan, you may sleep better.
I also really like this infographic that our graphic design intern created.
There are two key takeaways here. First off are the distractions of 24-hour connectivity. In our current culture, we always feel like we must be connected 24/7 and find it VERY hard to turn off my electronics an hour before bed. However, we must make sleep a priority and cut out the blue light so that our bodies can naturally wind down at night.
The other key takeaway is that humans are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep. Think about it – does your dog stay up if she’s tired? No, she goes to her bed and goes to sleep, regardless of what’s going on. Other mammals listen to their bodies. We could learn a lot from them!
All of that said, if you can’t get the sleep you need, we have some supplements that may be able to support you. Clicking here will take you to our sleep support supplements page. Another product to consider would be our Relaxing Passion Flower, which can help you wind down and supplement your regular bedtime routine.
We also recently did a webinar on Sleep Support Supplements. It can be viewed here and contains much more detailed information on our sleep support products.