UNITED STATES—It has been a question I have been asking myself for years: what can I do to get better sleep? Should I go to sleep earlier, should I go to sleep later, should I limit caffeine, should I limit stress, sound-proof bedroom? If you can think it, I have thought of it America. Why? I don’t sleep well at night, it has been like that since high school and it became a trend in college and in my adult life.
In high school, I started working and then when you throw in school activities the day started at 7 a.m. and didn’t end until 11 p.m. on most days. I know what many of you are thinking: what about an off day that rarely happened for me in high school and if I had one it was during the week versus the weekend where I didn’t have anything on my plate. Move on to college, same situation heavy class workload, heavy job workload. I think I had 6 months after college ended where I had a slight break where I just worked and had nothing else to stress me out.
Now that I’m older, I’ve been juggling job two jobs for the past several years, where the workday can start at 7 or 8 and not end until 12 a.m. in some situations. As a result, I sometimes get decent sleep when I am exhausted beyond exhaustion people. It means I hit the bed and I can sleep for almost 12 hours when I’m literally running on empty. Trust me, I know that cannot be safe or smart to do because I depleted my body of almost all the energy that I have. As a result, that is never a good thing people because when you get burnt out, it takes so much longer to build that energy back up to tackle the next challenge that you might face.
However, I’m a light sleeper. The tiniest sound can wake me up and once I’m up that its, I cannot go back to sleep no matter how hard I attempt to put myself back to bed. Trust me I’ve had situations where I felt I was sleeping well, wake up at 2 in the morning and then I’m tossing and turning for the next 2-3 hours trying to go back to sleep, only to realize within an hour or two I have to get up and get ready for work.
Sleep might be the most important thing Americans can do for their bodies, but really ask yourself the question: how much sleep do you get on average each week? I could probably tell you 30 hours if I’m lucky. Yeah, that’s bad you’re talking about 4-6 hours per night. Americans are told by sleep experts you should be aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. That would be glorious and I mean absolute glorious if I could get 8 hours of sleep each night for just one week for my body to feel fully rejuvenated.
I mean the longest I’ve ever slept in a single night was around 12 hours and that was a direct result of a workday starting at 6 a.m. and not ending till 10 p.m. FYI, the following day of course I didn’t work, but I was so burnt out from a 12-16 hour workday. It is crazy to think about it, but this is the daily grind for many Americans and they get sleep when they can.
However, if you’re thinking burnout is good for the body, like I used to think, you haven’t experience full burnout because when you crash and burn, you crash hard and it’s like a ton of bricks falling and it takes forever to get each of those bricks picked up. Be smart, be balanced and don’t overdo it. You ONLY have one body so take care of it and don’t rely on minimal sleep to operate.