- 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night.
- Americans currently get on average 6.8 hours of sleep each night.
- In 1910 the average person slept 9 hours a night.
- Roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder.
- Since 1985 the percentage of adults getting less than six hours sleep each night has increased by 31%.
- 97% of teenagers get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
Sleep. Everyone does it but are we doing it well and are we getting enough of it?
Sleep awareness week is March 10-16, bringing light to this important issue. According to a study done by the National Sleep Foundation, when asked which of 5 items was most important to them personally, 35% said fitness/nutrition, 27% said their work, 17% said hobbies/personal interests, 10% said sleep, and 9% said their social life. But good quality sleep is VERY important and I would say critical to your overall health and well-being. Here are some facts to help you – Lack of sleep is linked to depression, obesity and chronic pain. A study by the US Department of Health and Human Services reports that roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder. Recent reports are showing sleep disorders affecting persons still in primary education. Aside from the detriment to our health sleep deprivation also affects our productivity overall costing the US $422 billion annually.
So what are we to do? I have compiled a short list of all of my favorite sleep rituals and aids.
First on the list is getting off electronics devices. Set a boundary for yourself as a goal to be off phone and laptop by a certain time each evening. Ideally a couple hours BEFORE you plan to sleep. The light from the electronic devices impacts your body’s secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. This is in addition to the disruption caused by your brains activity digesting the information that you are taking in via these devices. You are essentially telling your body, “no, not yet!” to sleep by stimulating the brain this way.
Second, build a sleep routine. We are creature of habit and your body likes the have some expectations and have them meet. When we sleep and when we eat, Just like how preparing your meal can trigger hunger, preparing for sleep can trigger tiredness.
What are you drinking and eating? Ideally there should be at least 2 hours between your last meal and sleep time. Drinking alcohol may make you feel sleepy initially but lead to poor quality sleep and waking not refreshed. Save the spicy foods and alcohol for earlier evening. Do make a bedtime tea or warm drink. I like Traditional Medicinals Lavender and Chamomile tea. This drink is both calming and soothing. Another nice bedtime drink is Golden Tea, which is just warmed non-dairy milk with turmeric in it. If you want to make it really sleepy tea, add ¼ tsp Ashwagandha to it. Ashwagandha is an herb that calms the mind and promotes restful sleep.
Take care of your body, I give myself a little hand and foot massage just prior to bed. I use Sleep Easy Oil by Banyan Botanicals for this. This oil blend has powerful Ayurvedic herbs that promote healthy sleep patterns and deep rest and relaxation. Extra special nights I massage this into my scalp before sleep to really calm things down and have a great hair day the following morning.
Another go to Banyan product that I love, especially for travel is I Sleep Soundly tablets. These non pharmaceutical pills will help you fall asleep easier and also maintain sleep leaving you waking refreshed and on point, not like a prescription sleeping pill!
On my nightstand – the Lectrofan EVO. White noise, the sound that can distract your mind away from other sounds and thoughts. The LectroFan EVO features multiple sound options including brown, pink, pure white noise, and fan sounds. There are also two distinct ocean sounds, which compliment the audio array. I found a sound that was perfect to me right away and feel chilled out the moment I set it to on. Relatively inexpensive and yet so effective.
Saving the best for last? Maybe. If you haven’t tried it yet, Yoga and meditation are BOTH effective sleep aids. Even if it is just a short series of gentle stretches or a 5 minute meditation before bed, you will better be able to relax your body and mind to turn things off and turn inward for bed. I have a great new DVD out on Amazon called SLEEP/WAKE designed to help you with both. It streams free with Amazon Prime.
Sleep is important. This is when you body can rest and recover. We digest our food, we process our emotions and this is also when the body works to heal itself. Don’t discount or forgo sleep. You are deserving of a good night’s sleep. Do it for yourself and everyone around you.
XO~ Michele Fife