Are you feeling sluggish this morning? You’re not alone. The latest Better Sleep Council survey conducted this spring reveals that more than half of Americans are don’t get enough sleep, which can have dire physical and mental consequences. According to the BSC, which is the consumer arm of the International Sleep Products Association, it’s a “sleepocalypse.”
Karin Mahoney, BSC director of communications, shared these survey results May 13 on Boston’s Fox 25 Morning News show, explaining that, “half of Americans—so 157 million Americans—are sleep deprived.”
When asked why this is happening now, Mahoney said, “In general, we lead extremely stressful, hectic lives, and especially with the insurgence of electronics and social media, we are constantly on…we always have our laptops, our cellphones with us and the use of those, especially in the bedroom, can have some pretty detrimental effects.”
What advice did Mahoney have for the Boston metro area? “I have five easy steps to incorporate into your lifestyle,” she said.
1 Reduce electronics use in the bedroom, specifically in bed. According to the BSC survey, 92% of Americans watch television, check their smartphones, etc., in bed. Intense back lighting of electronics triggers stimulating chemicals in the brain that tell our bodies it’s time to be awake.
2 Make sure your room is conducive to sleep. Create “a sleep oasis,” she advisedl Make sure it’s cool and you have a comfortable mattress. Remove distractions that may send the wrong message to your brain.
3 Don’t let your cellphone be a distraction. “Many of us use it as our alarm clock or we’re constantly checking our email before we go to bed. A big no-no. We associate our cellphone with stress,” she said.
4 Keep a consistent bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. Your body uses a Circadian rhythm to regulate states of being asleep and awake; straying from your regular sleep schedule can confuse this rhythm and the effect can be felt for days.
5 Give yourself “wind-down time.” Listen to music, sip on chamomile tea or listen to soothing sounds “to get your mind and body ready for the rest you deserve,” she added.