Do You Really Get Enough Sleep?

How would your life be different if you slept as much as you wanted to, or at least as much as your body needs? Too many of us aren’t getting enough sleep. In fact, half of us get less than we really need. The results? Lack of energy, lowered work productivity, difficulty concentrating, endangered driving, and even obesity, increased chance for diabetes, and heart problems. Did you know that a tired driver can be just as impaired as a driver under the influence of alcohol? Not getting enough sleep affects every other part of your life.

According to this holistic practitioner, the average American adult is getting about 1.5 hours less sleep than the average American adult did 100 years ago. If we truly are a sleep-deprived nation, what can we do to turn this around, and does it really matter?

First, we need to prioritize our sleep, as mentioned in this article by the National Sleep Foundation. Much like we should pay ourselves from our own paycheck before we start paying all of our creditors, we shouldn’t have sleep as a bottom-rung priority, but work things in our daily routine around our sleep schedule instead. That’s about a 180-degree turn from what we usually do (we usually go to bed after we get everything done), but it needs to happen for our bodies and our minds to be able to function optimally.

Think about what’s preventing you from getting enough sleep — a lot of the time we are so stuck with inertia that we don’t realize that we can and should improve something like this in our lives. Do you not get enough sleep because you are spending too much time watching television? Does that extra hour of TV really give you that much more satisfaction that you are not willing to sacrifice it for a better, healthier life.

When we are faced with life-changing decisions like this — whether we should make a change so we can get enough sleep, it’s often helpful to evaluate/imagine what your life could and would be like if you were to adopt the new beneficial habit. Rather than thinking, “I really should get to sleep earlier,” think instead, “My life will be different in xyz way(s) once I start getting to sleep at 8:30 pm every night.” If you think in those terms instead of thinking that you’re bad for not getting enough sleep, it’s harder for you to make the change.

Do you get enough sleep? Do you want to? Then answer to yourself right now — “If I get an extra hour or two of sleep…” and get to making it happen!

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