According to a recent survey, “seven out of 10 Americans are getting less than seven hours of sleep on weeknights accumulating a deficit of more than one hour per night based on experts’ recommendations that a full night’s sleep is about eight hours.” This probably comes as no surprise to you. However, the far reaching effects of too little sleep were surprising.

Could lack of sleep be effecting your productivity?

The survey results also showed that

One in five Americans has missed work because of feeling tired. And many of those that do drag themselves in to work after a bad night’s sleep are not very productive – a sleepless night has caused a lack of concentration during an important meeting or conversation for almost half of Americans (47 percent).

The consequences of not being able to concentrate during an important meeting could be potentially devastating. You don’t want to come across as disengaged or uninterested.

Effects on Your Skin

Here are some more surprising results.

  • After a bad night’s sleep, most Americans’ (85 percent) skin suffers – the most common results are dark circles under the eyes (59 percent) and dull (31 percent) or splotchy skin (16 percent).

“Sleep allows your skin time to repair itself from the daily damage done by stress and the environment,” says Dr. Jeanine Downie, certified dermatologist. “When skin does not have adequate time to repair itself, the long term effects can be similar to those of sun exposure.”

I’ve been using sunscreen every day for years now trying to save myself skin cancer (and, I’ll be honest, I’d like to continue to look young and unwrinkled as long as I can.) Perhaps I should start focusing more attention on getting to bed on time.

Are you a Danger on the Road?

Finally, this startling statistic should convince you of your need for a peaceful nights sleep if nothing else does.

One in five Americans has ever fallen asleep while driving and almost half of Americans (48 percent) “drove while drowsy” in the last month.

That doesn’t only affect you. It effects all the drivers around you.

Tips to Get Enough Sleep

Now that you are convinced that sleep is important and that you aren’t getting enough, what can you do to change this? How can you help yourself to get enough sleep?

The Mayo Clinic offers these 10 tips.

10 Tips for Better Sleep

  • Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, even on the weekends. This helps your body’s natural sleep and awake patterns to stay on track.
  • Don’t eat or drink large amounts before bedtime. If you do need a snack, eat something light.
  • Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol in the evening. All three can effect the quality of your sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Its hard to be sleepy if you never do anything.
  • Make your bedroom cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. Make sure the temperature is comfortable and the room is dark. If you live in Scotland like I do, black out blinds are a must for the summer.  A white noise generator may be of use to you so you don’t hear any ambient noise that will wake you up. (I live on a busy street. I am awakened nightly if I don’t use white noise.)
  • Sleep primarily at night. If you take long naps during the day, then you won’t be tired at night when it is time for bed.
  • Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow. Can’t sleep if you aren’t comfortable. Also, memory foam is wonderful.
  • Start a relaxing bedtime routine. Works with kids and it works with adults. Perhaps you could take a bath or read for a bit before falling asleep.
  • Go to bed when you’re tired and turn out the lights. Stressing about not sleeping doesn’t help a person fall asleep.
  • Use sleeping pills only as a last resort. You don’t want to train your body to need sleeping pills to be able to fall asleep.

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