Reversing the sleep deprivation trend

A new study from the Journal of Community Health shows that the number of adults sleeping less than six hours each night has risen from 30% in 2010 to 35% in 2018. UC Berkeley neuroscience professor Matthew Walker, a sleep expert, tweeted in response to the study, “This is unsustainable chronic sleep deprivation for maintaining human health.” And the physical and mental side effects for teens similarly sleep deprived are even worse.

Lesson #4 of my final 31 posts: Lack of sleep is a dangerous practice that makes you miserable today and also shortens your life tomorrow.

This is something I did not understand ten years ago. I’d always carried some pride as someone who could sleep 5-6 hours a night and seemingly function just fine. I’d reserve focused effort to get a good night’s sleep for occasions that merited it, like a big presentation or event the following day.

But since I’ve started writing this blog and consequently had to find interesting things to write about for parents and teens, I’ve consistently come across articles, studies, and, most notably, this book that have completely changed my perspective. Regular good sleep is imperative to good physical and mental health. It deserves to be prioritized and protected. This is not an opinion. It’s science. And it’s one of those areas where our society is trending in the wrong direction. It’s time to reverse the trend, especially with teens.

If you want to have more energy, perform better at school or work, reach your potential, be happier, healthier and live a longer life, make a full night’s sleep (which Walker defines as at least 8 hours) a regular priority.