The Bold Global Media staff hasn’t been getting a lot of sleep recently. We’re working on our new morning show, Bold Blend, while also still keeping our website fresh and updated. Naturally, a lot of us find ourselves hitting a wall after lunch, after only getting a few hours a sleep the night before. Sometimes we say nonsensical things, forget what task we’re working on, and wander off during team meetings. It’s obvious that our lack of sleep is starting to take its toll, and many other Americans find themselves on the same page.
We are a nation of sleep deprived citizens. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average American between the ages of 18 and 64 is supposed to get between seven and nine hours of sleep. Teenagers need more, and senior citizens need less. Any less than six hours puts you in the danger zone.
A Gallup poll taken a few years ago found that over a quarter of us (26 percent) are getting dangerously low amounts of sleep (less than six hours).
An alarming amount of my workmates fall into this category.
The consequences of a lifestyle that doesn’t include enough sleep are pretty severe. Statistically, those who don’t enjoy the recommended amounts of slumber are more likely to have a laundry list of diseases including hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity and cancer.
Study after study corroborate how quickly health problems can develop if you don’t get rest. For instance, recent research found that pulling an all-nighter is worse than six months of a high fat diet. If you’re interested in staying healthy and trim, it would probably be advisable to hit the sack and stay there for at least seven hours.
It’s not rocket science to see that our unhealthy habits are greatly affecting our quality of life. Healthcare costs continue to spiral out of control, because we’re overweight and unhealthy. Part of the reason we’re packing on the pounds is because we don’t sleep enough. A healthy and happy country is one whose citizens sleep enough to recharge themselves, and are alert and creative the following day.
Beyond personal health issues, the loss in productivity due to sleepiness in the business world is estimated to be more than 60 billion dollars a year.
Employees who get a good nights rest are much more effective at their jobs. Honestly, this article would have probably needed fewer edits if I had slept more. Statistically, nearly everyone can use more sleep. It’s no wonder why we find ourselves binging on sleep on weekends to make up for our sleep deficits that spiral out of control during the week.
Experts in the world of sleep science say it wasn’t always this way. They call the ever diminishing amount of sleep in this country “the war on sleep,” and it’s been going on for more than forty years. In the 1970s, most Americans slept approximately seven hours a night. Today, average sleep duration is closer to six hours, and still trending downward.
Sleep is a building block of success, and there are no excuses otherwise. Nevertheless, we constantly find ourselves in quandary to keep up with all of our responsibilities, while still partaking in our favorite hobbies and social activities that typically cut into our sleep. Put down your cell phone, turn off your TV, and ignore your social media, because the great American sleep deficit is making us deficient human beings.
Photo by Bryant Switzky
David is the Editor of Bold. He's especially passionate about millennial economic empowerment. A former local news reporter, David is originally from the Little Havana area in Miami, and later became a pioneer resident of the Disney-inspired town of Celebration, Florida. David holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.