To be honest, I’ve been in denial about being sleep deprived for a long time. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I realized that my lack of sleep was becoming a real issue. Sitting in a warm car and stuck in congested traffic relaxed me and me sleepy, causing me to endanger all those around me. Not only was I a hazard on the road, I also couldn’t think as quickly on my feet and was becoming overly reliant on Starbucks coffee. Yet I still couldn’t get myself into bed at an earlier time.
Maybe some of you are like me, but I’m the kind of person who likes to maximize productivity every hour, minute, second of the day. Relax? Who has time for that? I’m up at around 5 in the morning and often don’t get into my bed until close to midnight.
Be active, be healthy, be productive, be happy. That’s me attempting to balance all of those. There isn’t ever enough time for me to fulfill all of my goals in a day; therefore, a sufficient amount of sleep is often sidelined. Now I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m sleep deprived and it’s a problem.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute, sleep helps our brains and bodies function properly. It helps our brains learn better, pay attention, have better memory, and be more creative. It helps our bodies repair (blood vessels, muscle tissue, heart, etc.). Studies have also shown that insufficient amounts of sleep lead to weight gain because the hormone that controls our hunger is suppressed and we’ll feel hungrier and are therefore more likely to overeat. Our immune system will also become weaker if we don’t get enough sleep. Basically, all studies point to the blatant fact that sleep is vital to our survival and performance.
Yet I and about 30% of other Americans have been in denial. That’s right, I’m not the only sleep deprived one! According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), about 30% of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep per day. We should be getting 7-8! I stay up late to increase productivity and complete more work, but I’ve found myself working at a slower pace, being less able to communicate clearly, and being much more unable to focus on the task at hand. My workouts have also been hindered because my body won’t perform to the extent that I need it to, and I’m extremely fortunate that I’ve been able to survive my commutes to and from work every day. Basically after multiple micro sleeps, which are 5-10 seconds of nodding off, during my drives, I’ve decided that I can’t continue jeopardizing other people’s safety on the road.
Many people deal with sleep deficiency or an insufficient amount of sleep, and in turn, there is a high possibility that we could cause large-scale damages. Sleep plays an essential role in leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It’s funny how many people stress eating healthy and exercising, but so many of us forget to leave time for one of the most essential things to our health: SLEEP! I understand that now, which is why I’m really working on getting to bed before 11. What about you? Are you getting enough sleep? If not, make it a priority!
Wherever you’re sleeping, just make sure it’s safe from evil pranking cousins with markers at hand!