It’s no surprise that we’re so exhausted. We’re inundated with screens, notifications, and meeting requests 24/7/365. Our world is busier, faster, and more connected than ever before.
In a world where “time is money”, sleep is considered empty time. We’ve been conditioned to think “sleep is for the weak”; “you’ll sleep when you’re dead”; “you snooze, you lose”. Sleep deprivation has almost become a status symbol. The more you work, the more important and successful you must be. For high-performers and “hustlers”, a 60-hour work week is brag-worthy. This is a clear shift from previous eras where leisure was luxury and work was a necessity for the lower class.
We carry our friends and our jobs in our back pocket at all times. We can’t sit still without compulsively reaching for our phones. We fill every empty moment with noise. We’ve forgotten how to be still, how to pause and reflect, and – we’ve even forgotten how to sleep.
In her best-selling book The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington calls our age “the golden age of sleep science”. Researchers are unlocking the secrets of what happens in our brains and bodies when we sleep – and when we don’t.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) links insufficient sleep to chronic diseases and conditions including: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression (source). Recent studies link sleep deprivation to early Alzheimer’s Disease (source) and increased risk of cancer (source, p. 43). Then there are the health risks that come with drowsy driving and sleeping pill prescriptions. The more we learn about dangers of insufficient sleep, the harder it is to ignore. This is a global health crisis.
One of the main reasons we neglect sleep is simply lack of education. There’s a certain mystery and magic to sleep. Where do we go when we sleep? What’s happening in our mind? It’s hard to understand something you’re unconscious for.
We’ve been taught about the importance of diet and exercise, but sleep has never reached mainstream health awareness – until now. Mastering healthy sleep habits is one of the most effective ways to improve your health and quality of life. Science proves that better sleep can make you healthier, happier, and sharper.
Sleep is so good for us, so why do we neglect it?
“Up, Sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will
be sleeping enough.”
– Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac
In other words, “you’ll sleep when you’re dead”. Franklin is also the man who coined the corporate mantra “time is money”. This was the spirit of the Industrial Revolution – big business never sleeps. Working at all hours became a sign of masculinity and strength.
Thomas Edison also believed sleep was for the weak, bragging that he never needed more than 4 or 5 hours. In 1914, The New York Times published an article with the headline: “THE FUTURE MAN WILL SPEND LESS TIME IN BED.” In the article, Edison said:
“In the old days, man went up and down with the sun… A million years from now, he won’t go to bed at all. Really, sleep is an absurdity, a bad habit. We can’t suddenly throw off the thralldom of the habit, but we can still throw it off. Nothing in this world is more dangerous to the efficiency of humanity than too much sleep.”
(via The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington)
North America was built on capitalism and capitalism was built on these beliefs. Keep in mind, at the time Edison’s article was published, doctors were still treating various ailments with mercury and heroin was an acceptable form of cough treatment. 1 out of 4 women were diagnosed with “hysteria”, fussy babies were treated with narcotic-loaded “soothing syrups”, and lobotomies and bloodletting were still accepted medical practices (source). Our medical knowledge has come a long way since then. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about our relationship with sleep. Ironically, Edison developed type 2 diabetes later in life – a condition now often linked to chronic sleep deprivation (source).
We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity and hyper-connection. Ironically, our loss of sleep costs Canada about 80,000 working days a year due to sleep deprivation of our working population (source). 26% of the Canadian workforce has called in sick because of being sleep deprived (source, p. 23).
Here’s the funny (sad) part. We sacrifice sleep for productivity that isn’t really productive and connection that doesn’t really connect us. On top of that, we’re putting our health at risk.
By waking up to sleep, we can reverse the side effects of poor sleep and gain the energy and renewal we need to thrive.
Here on the Beautyrest® website, you’ll find articles that outline many of the benefits of sleep, along with steps you can take to improve your sleep – and your life – starting tonight. We’ll reference the latest studies, resources, and experts.
We believe that beautiful sleep is the secret to a beautiful life. Our goal is to empower you to harness the power of sleep for better health, happiness, and success every day.
Here’s to waking up what’s possible.
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