Grab your pillow and get ready because National Sleep Awareness Week is coming up soon, March 14-20. The week kicks off on daylight savings weekend (that’s right, more daylight is in your future!). With the week fast approaching, there’s still plenty of time to catch up on your Zzzs. First, it’s important to understand why sleep is so vital to your health and wellbeing.
A recent “Sleep in America” poll found that, on average, Americans say they feel sleepy at least three days of the week, with 62% saying they simply try to “shake it off” instead of remedy the sleeplessness. Studies have also shown that healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Let’s take a look at the risks associated with lack of sleep, along with how you can work toward building healthy sleep habits for increased mood, productivity and happiness.
What Happens When You’re Tired
You may think that the only person you’re hurting by not getting enough sleep is you. However, that’s far from the truth. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, your ability to make decisions and how you interact with others. Some risk factors for lack of sleep include:
- Being more prone to serious medical diseases, like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
- Having a weakened immune system which makes you more susceptible to illness.
- Having decreased brain function, including the ability to make decisions and problem solve.
- Becoming more emotional or moody.
- Being more likely to have accidents of any kind.
In a world where you’re trying to do more good, lack of sleep can end up actually doing more harm. Consistently stretching yourself too thin can mean you end up with decreased judgement, and you can’t give your all each day. By working on building healthy sleep habits, you can work toward putting your best foot forward every day.
Building Healthy Sleep Habits
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the factors for healthy sleep start with SLEEP: Structure, Light, Electronics, Exercise and Prioritize.
- Structure: Routine helps us get in the swing of healthy sleep habits. Pick a wake-up and sleep time, then stick to it.
- Light: When possible, spend time during the day in the natural sunlight.
- Electronics: Power down your electronics at least an hour before bed.
- Exercise: Physical activity does a great deal of good for your health, and also helps relieve stress. In turn, exercise helps you fall asleep at night.
- Prioritize: Too many people put sleep on the backburner. Recognize how it helps your body and make time to sleep. Set that example for your family!
Celebrate National Sleep Awareness Week by studying up on healthy sleeping habits or simply trying to get more shuteye. It’s impossible to put the best version of yourself out into the universe if you’re already starting at a disadvantage. Make sleep a priority and see the health benefits that affect your overall wellbeing. When in doubt, follow the SLEEP advice from the National Sleep Foundation. We wish you sweet dreams next time you’re trying to fall asleep!