Maybe you’ve been up late, burning the midnight oil, trying to finish that last proposal... or client project... or email…
Maybe the next day you found yourself nodding off while at your kid’s soccer game… or in a meeting… or while watching a movie… or most dangerously, while driving your car…
Maybe this isn’t an occasional occurrence, but it goes on night after night, day after day...
When you lack the proper amount of sleep, not only do you lose out on the benefits of sleeping well, but you also lose out on the opportunity to live each day fully aware and awake. And you may even put yourself or your loved ones in danger if you drive while drowsy.
Let’s first talk about what happens when you don’t get enough sleep:
The most frightening reason to make sure you get enough sleep is “drowsy driving”, which can actually be compared to driving while drunk. If you’ve been awake for 18 hours straight, you could be driving as if you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours - for instance, after a night where you had trouble falling asleep - it’s like a blood alcohol level of .10.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 25 adult drivers have fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. And in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes.
These are truly scary statistics, and reason enough to make sure you sleep well.
But let’s also look at the BENEFITS of getting a good night’s sleep, consistently. Obviously, you can count on the opposite of the above:
OK, but you may ask, “How do I actually get more sleep when I have trouble sleeping?”
I’m glad you asked! According to Dr. Richard Shane here are some tips that often help. As you lie in bed:
This is a simple method that helps you relax your body and your mind, so you can fall asleep naturally.
And of course, watching what you eat - not overdoing it on sugars and caffeine, especially later in the day - and getting enough exercise every day, are critically important factors that help you sleep better at night.
I’m often surprised at how little we talk about sleep patterns in the health and fitness world since it can have such a dramatic impact on our weight and health.