We're in a Sleep Recession

health life productivity self improvement sleep Feb 01, 2021
We're in a Sleep Recession

The world is in a recession…and I’m not talking about the economic kind either.


There’s a direct correlation between quality sleep and your energy level, and therefore your productivity.

Neuroscientists say adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night.

How much sleep do you get on a consistent basis?

When you don’t get adequate sleep, how is your productivity the next day?

Here are some interesting statistics around sleep followed by some tips to help you optimize your sleep.

Stunning stats

  • 59% of Americans sleep for 7 hours or more at night while 40% sleep less than 7 hours. (StartSleeping.org)
  • 38% of adults aged 25 to 34 and 32% of adults aged 18 to 24 sleep less than 7 hours a night. (TheGoodBody.com)
  • Since 1985, the percentage of adult Americans sleeping less than 6 hours a night has increased by 31%. (TheGoodBody.com)
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 36.5% of American workers sleep less than the recommended 7 hours.
  • In 1910, the average person slept for 9 hours. (TheGoodBody.com)
  • It takes the average adult 7 minutes to fall asleep. (PsychCentral.com)
  • According to Sleep.org, 60°-67°F (15.6°-19.4°C) is the best temperature for optimal sleep.
  • 1 in 10 Americans (10%) prioritize sleep over fitness, work, hobbies, and social life. (SleepFoundation.org)

How to go to bed

Here are seven ideas to make going to bed and getting a good night's sleep better.

Stop consuming caffeine by 2 pm (at the latest)

Personally, I have chosen to give up all beverages except for mountain spring water.

If you’re going to do this, I encourage you to only have water in your house. Zero temptation.

Also, all water is not created equal. Find water that you can afford and that tastes delicious. You’ll cheerfully drink it a lot.

Caffeine affects different people in different ways. Did you know that caffeine can affect you for up to 6 hours after you consume it?

Avoid late nights

It’s best — as much as possible — to go to bed at the same time and arise at the same time. This puts your body into a rhythm.

Going to bed and getting up at different times causes inconsistent sleep…which affects your energy level and therefore your ability to be productive.

Many people are pretty good at sleeping consistently Sunday through Thursday but then it all goes out the window over the weekend.

Don’t let FOMO prevent you from getting good sleep either. Record shows or even live events on your DVR and watch them when you want to.

Cut off screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime

Put those phones, tablets, laptops, and gaming consoles away and stop watching TV at least an hour before you turn the lights out.

What should you do instead?

Read a print or a Kindle book — not the Kindle app on your phone or tablet, or print magazine. You could also have a nice conversation with someone, not using technology, write in your journal, meditate, or pray.

If you have a television in your bedroom, I encourage you to remove it. Bedrooms are for sleeping and for sex. Keep the television in another room.

Cool your room

Studies have shown that you’ll sleep better if your room is on the cool side (see the recommended range in the stats above) and all light is blocked out.

If, like me, you can’t sleep in absolute silence, use an app on your smartphone to provide some white noise or soundscapes like waves crashing or thunderstorms. And no cheating! Don’t sneak a peek at social media, email, or messages when you fire up the app!

You could also use a fan, which is my preference as I also like air moving around when I sleep…even in the wintertime.

Get a comfortable mattress

If you’re sleeping 7 to 9 hours a night as recommended, why sleep on a mattress that doesn’t give you a quality night of sleep?

Invest in a good mattress. The right one will serve you for years and will help your productivity improve because you are getting the rest you need.

As you lie your head down

Your final thoughts as you drift off to sleep should not be of what went wrong but instead of what went right.

Think of everything that was awesome about your day. Count every blessing — you have way more than you think you do.

You, sleeping, and kids

One note about kids. They won’t know how to go to bed unless you teach them. Set up a routine for them as you have, and encourage them to follow it. Reward them appropriately.

The key to training your kids and yourself is consistency.

Stop taking sleep for granted

I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is something I’ve heard and read from more than a few people over the years. I’ve even said it!

The truth is if you don’t take steps to get the sleep your body craves, you may be dead far sooner than you’d like.

When you’re sleeping, your brain is hard at work. You may think you’re in a state of relaxation but your brain is “all hands on deck”.

According to HopkinsMedicine.org, “When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure, and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Sleep also plays a role in metabolism: Even one night of missed sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person.”

I started this article by asking you, “How much sleep do you get on a consistent basis?”

If you don’t know, find out. Go get an app to track your sleep. I personally use AutoSleep (iOS and Apple Watch only) but there’s also Sleep Cycle (iOS/Apple Watch, Android) and others.

Once you know how you’re sleeping, you can make any necessary changes.

Your turn

What do you have to do in order to start getting the sleep you need so that you can be the most productive version of yourself?

Choose and do!

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thank you for reading it.

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