Breaking news: Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just a luxury – it’s a literal necessity for you to be a healthy and well-functioning member of society. And no matter if it’s short or long term, sleep deprivation is awful for your health, both mentally and physically.
According to a 2016 study from the CDC, approximately 33 percent of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, and 33 percent said their sleep quality was “poor.” Considering it’s recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of restful sleep per night, this is not good.
But it’s not just the average American who’s sleep-deprived: Even billionaire Tesla genius Elon Musk admits to working 120-hour weeks, which leaves him hardly any time to sleep and rest up.
"It's not been great, actually," he told the Times. "I've had friends come by who are really concerned."
Now, anyone who has ever been sleep deprived at some point knows it makes you feel like shit, but did you know just how dangerous it is for your health?
Numerous studies have found correlations between inadequate sleep and serious health problems, including immune impairment and an increased risk of colon and breast cancers, among other life-threatening cancers.
According to a 2010 study on sleep duration and mortality, those who sleep less than six hours a night are also 12 percent more likely to die early from various causes including heart disease and high blood pressure.
Furthermore, researchers from the University of Wisconsin found that sleep deprivation hinders skin from healing properly and increases inflammation, which can lead to chronic skin conditions or exacerbate existing problems.
What’s more is that not getting enough shuteye is terrible for your mental health as well. A longitudinal study of 1,000 adults revealed that, compared to normal sleepers, insomniacs were four times more likely more likely to develop major depression...which comes to show no one is happy when they're tired.
Plus, if brain power means anything to you, you should aim to get at least seven (ideally eight) hours of sleep per night, because a study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that sleep deprivation impairs attention and working memory, as well as decision-making and long-term memory.
So, long story short, not getting a good night's sleep is definitely worse for our health than most of us realize.
And while the negative effects of sleep deprivation are essentially endless, these should be reason enough to catch more (and better) z's from now on.
But before we part, here are a few tips to help you get the best sleep of your life:
Try this secret US military technique to fall asleep in two minutes flat
One: Relax the muscles in your face, including your tongue, jaw, and the muscles around your eyes.
Two: Drop your shoulders as low as they’ll go. Then relax your upper and lower arm on one side, and then the other.
Three: Breathe out, and relax your chest.
Four: Finally, relax your legs, first thighs and then calves.
So what comes next? Well, after ten seconds more of trying to clear your mind, Lloyd Bud Winter (the book's author) suggests that you picture one of the following three mental images:
Lying in a canoe on a calm lake, nothing but blue sky above you.
Snuggled in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room.
Saying “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” over and over for ten seconds.
Sleeping in the buff keeps your body cooler, which is necessary for falling asleep, and staying asleep.
“If anything prevents that decline in temperature, the brain will wake itself up to see what’s going on, meaning you’ll struggle to get to sleep or you’ll have disturbed sleep,” reads a research paper on sleep regulation.
Invest in a top-of-the-line mattress
The first step to getting amazing sleep is to make sure you have an amazing bed. The DreamCloud is one of the best mattresses money can buy, with gel memory foam to keep you cool, a plush top, and micro-coils for ultra-comfortable support.
Put your phone away an hour before going to sleep
The blue lights from your screen trick your body into thinking its daytime, therefore disrupting your circadian rhythm. With that said, put your phone down and relax with a book. It helps. Trust.