SLEEP:

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?

DO YOU FEEL TIRED AND GRUMPY WHEN YOU GET UP?

IN SPITE OF BEING TIRED IS IT HARD TO FALL ASLEEP?

ARE YOU TOSSING AND TURNING AT 3 OR 4 IN THE MORNING?

Many Americans are sleep deprived. It has become a badge of honor for some to let you know that they sleep 3 or 4 hours a night and do not care to waste hours asleep.

Recent research finds that a good night’s sleep of 7 to 8 hours is extremely beneficial. Arianna Huffington creator of the Huffington blew the whistle on sleep deprivation a few years ago in her book “The Sleep Revolution.”

Huffington shares her own collapse at work and the following story to illustrate the importance of sleep.

“I experienced firsthand the high price we’re paying for cheating sleep when I collapsed from exhaustion, and it pains me to see dear friends (and strangers) go through the same struggle. Rajiv Joshi is the managing director of the B Team—a nonprofit on whose board I serve, founded by Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz to help move business beyond profit as the only metric of success. In June 2015, he had a seizure at age thirty-one during a B Team meeting in Bellagio, Italy, collapsing from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Unable to walk, he spent eight days in a hospital in Bellagio and weeks after in physical therapy. In talking with medical experts, he learned that we all have a “seizure threshold,” and when we don’t take time to properly rest, we move closer and closer to it. Rajiv had crossed his threshold and fallen off the cliff. “The struggle for a more just and sustainable world,” he told me when he was back at work, “is a marathon, not a sprint, and we can’t forget that it starts at home with personal sustainability.”

Thirty percent of employed Americans now report getting six hours of sleep or less per night, and nearly 70 percent describe their sleep as insufficient. Getting by on less than six hours of sleep is one of the biggest factors in job burnout and family conflicts.

In her book “Thrive” Huffington draws on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving. Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.

What can you do to make time for sleep and enjoy quality sleep?

One important aspect is technology, namely screens. Constantly checking our phones rather than being tuned in to the people we are with can have damaging effects on the relationship between adults and children in a family. Some boundaries can be made about disconnected time or when and where screens are appropriate.

“Sleep hygiene” refers to the preparation for a night’s sleep. The goal is to wind down gradually so the fight and flight response that may have been active all day can shut down. It is a good idea to avoid violence on TV achieve calm at before bedtime means avoiding violent crime on TV or video games and instead doing something less stressful such as reading or a hobby or playing with pets. It is much easier to sleep when relaxed for the night before bedtime. There are apps that can help you sleep. I recommend “Calm.” It includes morning, and evening recommendations, relaxing bedtime stories for adults and calming sounds.

Ideally the bedroom should be used for two things, sleep and love. If you have your office in the bedroom you are less likely to be relaxed as you would without it. Working on your laptop or watching a violent TV program can prevent your partner getting to sleep when he/she wants to.

Are naps a good idea?

Yes, if they are short, perhaps 20 minutes. A short nap can be refreshing and increase our cognitive abilities and relieve stress.

If adults have healthy sleep habits it will be easier for children to have them too. Laptops etc in children’s bedrooms can tempt them to stay up very late.

Sleep problems are worth discussing with your therapist because early wakening, can for example, be a symptom indicating the possibility of depression.