One thing I can’t seem to go a day without hearing is how tired other people are. It’s almost like it’s become a socially-acceptable salutation—it starts with “how are you” and I swear half the time the response is a deep exhale followed by “I’m exhausted.” I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that, in fact I might be one of the worst offenders. But isn’t there a pretty simple solution to this? Like just getting more sleep?
Unfortunately it’s not as easy as it sounds.
According to recent studies, about one-third of all Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, which translates to the average person only sleeping four to six hours a night—two hours less than what experts tell us we should be getting.
So what’s the problem?
Well, for starters, there’s the 50-70 million Americans who have sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, or hypersomnia. And let’s be honest, that probably doesn’t include the poor bed-mates who have to endure the heavy snoring that comes along with them in many cases.
It was shocking to learn a few weeks ago that one of the true causes of Michael Jackson’s death was the fact that he went without “real” sleep for 60 days. 60 days! Who knew that a lack of sleep could kill!?
And then there’s everyone out there that thinks they are supermen or women and don’t need the same sleep as an “average person.”
Hate to break to you, but unless you’re trying to beat Randy Gardner, the 17-year-old kid who voluntarily went without sleep for a school science fair project back in 1965, lasting a full 11 days, or the 26-year-old Chinese man who lost his life after attempting to watch every game of the European Cup, going days without sleep, could be a very bad ending.
But in all reality, this lack of sleep just leads to a less productive, less alert, less healthy, and more mistake-prone Country.
No offense to the poor cab driver I had the other day here in New York City, but literally falling asleep at the wheel is not okay!
I get it, though.
There are an infinite number of competing demands we all have. Our jobs, our kids, spouses, friends, chores around the house. Not to mention catching up on our favorite TV shows. They all make it so we go to sleep leaving something left undone. And even more invading, is that always-buzzing, always blinking and ringing phone next to our beds. There’s always one more tweet to read, text to respond to, or email to get off to our boss. Hint: leave that thing in the den.
So what do we do about all this, knowing that we’ll only get busier and more “plugged in?”
I guess we could all be rational human beings, and just get more sleep at night. Go to bed earlier, wake up later, or take those addicting sleeping pills that only make you more delirious. Forget that, it’s too simple.
How about this: we could just follow what most of the world does and take an afternoon snooze.
The Spanish call it a siesta, the Chinese call it a Swei Wu Jiao.
I think we should call it a post-lunch nap, we can call it PLN for short.
Because we can all agree that feeling more energy in the day is something that should be embraced.