Do you schedule sleep? Or is it something you don’t pay much attention to? This subject has been greatly underestimated and in today’s blog, I’d like to share Dr Gary Lindners’s continuation of his series Self Care matters- sleep matters.
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”
— Matthew Walker, PhD
Lack of Sleep is a Global Health Problem
When we think of what we need for survival and good health, our first responses would be air, water and food. However, sleep, like food, water and the air is essential for survival and good health. We have known about the importance of sleep for a long time and have also become aware of health ramifications when we don’t receive optimal sleep. Poor quality or lack of sleep has been linked to many conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems and poor sleep health resulting in sleep deprivation, which has a high correlation to depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, neurocognitive disease, and even cancer. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has pointed to a “global epidemic of sleeplessness” with roughly two-thirds of adults sleeping less than 8 hours a night.
The National Sleep Foundation recently conducted a survey looking at the number of hours slept per work night in six counties. The results per country were:
Canada 7.1 hours
Mexico 7.1 hours
Germany 7.0 hours
UK 6.8 hours
US 6.5 hours
Japan 6.4 hours
It is a myth – you can’t catch up on sleep!
It is interesting to note that the survey used work nights for its evaluation. One of the most common myths about sleep is that we can catch up on lost sleep during the week by sleeping in (or longer) on the weekends. Our sleep requirements are based on a circadian rhythm and most people need a good eight hours of sleep per night. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, states in his book, Why We Sleep, that the recycling rate of human beings seems to be 16 hours of wakefulness before tests show a drastic reduction in physical and mental capabilities. Can you see how sleep matters?
Is sleep a waste of time?
Like many others, getting enough sleep and good quality sleep was one issue that was very difficult for me, Gary, through much of my adult life. My sleep was often interrupted with thoughts, projects or just that flood of ideas that ran through my head preventing me from going to sleep. Once asleep, (if I really was?), I would wake up every few hours and look at the clock. Doze and look at the clock became what I considered to be a normal sleep pattern for me. From a personal standpoint, my perception of sleep was that it seemed like a waste of valuable time. A non-productive part of my day. Not until my mid-40’s did I take heed of what I knew about sleep to be healthy by choice.
Be aware of Karōshi – dying from overwork
According to the World Health Organization, you are likely part of the “sleep loss epidemic”. There has been a global rise in sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, but also, those who have the capacity to sleep well just aren’t sleeping enough. In Japan, where the epidemic is at its worse, the average time spent asleep is just 6 hours and 22 minutes, which has led to phrases for both falling asleep in public (inemuri) and dying from overwork (karōshi). I (Lucie) have lost a fellow student to karōshi. He was working incredibly hard and long hours and I have to say every teacher admired his work ethic but he paid the highest price for it. The UK isn’t far behind, averaging just 6 hours and 49 mins a night, meaning that since a study in 1942 found under 8% of the population was trying to survive on six or fewer hours, it’s now rocketed to almost one in two. Can you see how much sleep matters in your life?
Why you sleep poorly?
There are several factors that contribute to a poor night’s sleep. For many people, it is a matter of priorities. Sleep troubles can also stem from issues related to falling asleep, waking up frequently, staying asleep or other chronic problems.
Why is sleep important? – from the experts
Sleep is the single activity that we spend the most time doing in our lifetimes. We spend one-third of our lives asleep and for good reason. William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University, is one of the world’s leading authorities on sleep. He is sometimes referred to as the father of sleep medicine. To quote Dr Dement, “Healthy sleep has been empirically proven to be the most single important determinant on predicting longevity, more important than diet, exercise and heredity.” Dr Matthew Walker, agrees, “I used to suggest that sleep is the third pillar of good health, along with diet and exercise, but I don’t agree with that anymore. Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body for health.”
We need sleep to be healthy, happy and productive. Without it, we suffer consequences both physically and mentally. Sleep is the most important determinant to being healthy by choice, so, choose to get enough quality sleep. Sleep Matters. My husband and I have adopted this rule in our household for the past 10 years and it works. Cold and touches of flu stay at bay when I feel something is coming up and I go to bed earlier. Your immune system can’t fight effectively if your body is tired. Period! My husband, at stressful times, has been managing his blood pressure without medications by going to sleep early and enjoying 8 hours sleeping.*
Sleep for Better Health
Given all the scientific evidence to the importance and benefits of a good night’s sleep, we are a sleep-sick society, ignorant of the facts of sleep and the price of sleep deficiency.
One thing I do and suggest others do is to make sleep a priority. It may sound funny, but schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. Don’t make sleep the thing you do only after everything else is done. Stop doing other activities so you get the sleep you need. I realize that this is not easy for many of us but give it a try and you will see that with a more and better quality of sleep your mood, effectiveness and productivity will improve.
Tips for a better night’s sleep:
Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
Turn off electronics before bed. Avoid reading on electronic devices.
Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Sleep is not only about how many hours we sleep, but more importantly about the quality of sleep that we are receiving. A significant component of sleep quality is dependent on our sleep environment. For that reason, the foundation of the Nikken Wellness Home and our personal choice is the Nikken Naturest® Kenko Sleep System. It uses natural materials and simple principles to create Adaptive Sleep Technology. This includes self-regulating temperature control, advanced magnetic technology and passive massage to provide a natural, relaxing sleep environment for a deeply restful, rejuvenating sleep.
Contact me for the solution so you can throw the pills away and finally enjoy good, restful, rejuvenating sleep.
Sleep 8 hours and see the difference in you
Sleep is an essential physiological process. Getting enough sleep is one way that we all can be healthier, more productive and happier. Get 8 hours a night of good quality sleep. It’s one way to be Healthy by Choice. This topic will be included in our next Healthy by Choice broadcast. The class will cover the problem of why we don’t sleep well and tips for better, healthier sleep. Indeed 8-hour sleep truly matters.
Tune in our ONLINE CLASS
Please join us and invite guests for our next Class, Sleep Matter Matters on Tuesday, February 18th at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific. Together we can all help anyone Be Healthy by Choice. To Join the broadcast click this link and follow the prompts www.theroyalalliance.com/live see you on Tuesday.
More sleep-related posts
Gary’s and mine wish for you is to be healthy by choice not by chance!
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