It not at all surprising that we’re generally struggling to find a good night’s sleep. All you need to do is look at how many products exist to help us sleep. Just track the number of studies, like the one I’m about to share, and you’ll realize we have a problem. You’d think that years' worth of new products, studies, devices, etc. aimed at helping us sleep would at least make some type of positive difference but that’s apparently not the case.
According to OnePoll, 2019 was a terrible year for sleeping and 2020 is shaping up to be even worse. In 2018, the average person slept for six hours and 17 minutes per night. That looks downright dreamy compared to where we are now. Only 5 and a half hours per night. Anything below six hours is considered sleep deprivation. Based on this info, the entire country is sleep-deprived. Maybe that’s what’s driving a lot of the other negative stuff in our society. It’s safe to say none of us are the best versions of ourselves when we’re tired. So, what to do about this other than to acknowledge it stinks?
Diving into this study made me think of my own sleep issues. I’ve had trouble getting a good night’s sleep for as long as I’ve been doing morning radio, that's over 20 years. To get up at three, I need to go to bed around seven. The world just doesn’t work on that schedule and I’ve always struggled to make it work. So, I’ve tried just about everything overtime. Prescriptions, melatonin, herbal supplements, antihistamines, basically anything that has the potential to make you tired. I still use OTC supplements but the thing that’s been most helpful has been tracking my sleep. Using a combination of an Apple Watch and the Pillow app, I’ve been able to become more intentional about getting better sleep. A year ago, I averaged six hours and three minutes a night while averaging just over seven hours in bed a night. That’s now up to six hours and 14 minutes a night with the same amount of time in bed. Still not awesome but better.
If you become intentional about scientifically tracking your sleep, you’ll likely notice trends that can lead to a change in habits that might be able to help you make little tweaks for you to sleep better. From a change in pillows to testing different temps at night, you can test every little variable. Tracking sleep quality is another nice feature. My sleep quality still isn’t great but that’s 3 points from a year ago. Again, if sleep is an issue for you, becoming as intentional as possible about addressing it will likely help you figure out what’s really going on with you at night.
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