Let’s talk sleep. The thing you pretend to do when your partner asks you to unload the dishwasher.
CEOs brag about not needing it. You justify why you can finish re-watching that last Friends episode on Wednesday night because “you can catch up on the weekend.” It’s literally the first thing to go when FOMO sets in. In any case, we have what you might call a sleep epidemic in this country. There was a reason many of our parents had “lights out” times beyond just wanting to have another cocktail without the judging eyes of children.
Sleep by the numbers:
- 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder (60M have insomnia alone!)
- 75% of people who suffer from depression also suffer from a lack of sleep
- Teenagers are our most deprived – only 3% get the recommended amount of sleep per night (thanks Snap!)
- 9M Americans report using a drug to help sleep, which unfortunately can kill you sooner and give you a higher chance of getting cancer
And what are the impacts?
- “Get in my belly!” – a lack of sleep can make you gain weight
- “Say Anything…Again” – poor sleep increases dementia risk by 33% and can age your brain 3-5 years (oddly, the same amount that binge-watching Judge Judy can have). Also, laboratory studies show that a deficit in nocturnal sleep of as little as 90 min for just one night can lead to a reduction of daytime objective alertness by one-third.
- An actual broken heart – 48% more likely to develop heart disease (the #1 killer of people in this country)
- “Say Hello to my Little Friend” – cruddy sleep lowers libido, which in men lowers testosterone, which leads to all sorts of bad things (i.e. binge-watching Judge Judy)
What can you do? At Jetson HQ, we have a number of best practices:
- Cut caffeine. At least nothing for 6 hours before bed time, but really – just cut caffeine.
- Sleep in a dark room. Either get blackout shades, or if that’s a little too much for your budget, wear a sleep mask. True story – here is what United gave out on a recent flight which my wife wore to bed and when I woke up at 3am, I about had a heart attack.
- Sleep in a cool room. Open a window if you can (i.e. you’re not in Arizona).
- Go to sleep at the same time every night.
- Try a natural sleep aid like melatonin (no more than 3mg per night) (HINT: Jetson’s Fall Formulation has melatonin built right in!)
- GET OFF YOUR PHONE BEFORE YOU GO TO BED. Blue light confuses your brain!
- Read a damn book – NOT ON YOUR PHONE. It will zonk you regardless of how much of a page-turner it is.
Look – don’t take my word for it. Here’s 17 minutes of the best talk you’ll watch this year from TED2019. It’s worth it.