No need for alarm, but if we’re sleeping less than 7 hours a night, we’re hindering just about ALL of our wellness progress!
Over the past 20 years, I have heard the stories of hundreds of women who fail to recognize how their sleep habits are leading them on an uphill battle against their weight and waistlines and on a downward spiral for their self-confidence and worth.
This doesn’t have to be the case, and the solution is found in the comfort of our own beds.
Why Sleeping Less Than 7 Hours A Night Is Hurting Your Wellness
So why is getting our sleep so important, and why is seven uninterrupted hours the magic number? It’s a fair question.
First, let me say, I get it. There aren’t enough hours in the day as it is. There’s too much news to watch. Too much catching up to do on social media in the evening hours, a ritual of nighttime escape for so many of us.
We race through our days, so the thought of our brains simply hitting the brakes at lights out seems, well… absurd.
Sleep is a huge reason why I transitioned from solely being a personal trainer. We can jump 1,000 jumps, run 1,000 miles, and crunch 1,000 crunches each day, but if we don’t SLEEP, all of that work will turn our wellness goals into weight gain, increased stress, and depleted self-worth.
For our health and wellness, losing sleep is devastating. Sleep deprivation causes increased hunger and weight gain, irritability and anxiety, learning challenges and disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, and the list goes on. And Americans are some of the greatest offenders!
One study showed 70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems. 70 MILLION.
A study as recent as 2020 found that a whopping 88 percent of American adults reportedly lose sleep due to binge-watching TV. For women, a startling 46 percent report having sleep problems nearly every night. And almost 9 million Americans rely on a sleeping medication of some kind to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
Personally, I think these numbers are a wake-up call (no pun intended).
To put the power of sleep (and the lack thereof) into further perspective, here are three stats regarding the social impact of sleep deprivation:
- 1,550 deaths and over 40,000 injuries in the United States annually are due to sleepy drivers.
- Sleep loss and night shift accidents have been partly to blame for environmental health disasters, such as the grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker in Alaska and the chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India.
- A person who sleeps less than six hours a night on average has a 13 percent higher mortality risk than someone sleeping between seven and nine hours.
I could go on and on with the costs and bad news; instead, I’ll focus on how we can prioritize ourselves, get our sleep, and revamp our wellness by being rested. Because the good news is, all of these negative stats are reversible. As a nation, we need to begin to change the narrative around getting proper rest and ditch the glorification of getting only a few hours. We need to put our sleep routine in the front seat of our wellness program–right up there with the foods we choose and our exercise.
So, for those of us who fall into the camp of less than seven hours a night, here’s one tip you can start TONIGHT.
Build a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine that works for you.
This means staying in the same vicinity as your bedroom. For example, 8:45PM all electronics turned off, 9:00PM Epsom salt bath, 9:30PM read, 10:00PM bed. Once this routine becomes a habit, your sleep will improve–I guarantee it.
Like I tell my clients, colleagues, and friends: Sleep is the most important appointment we have each day. It is more important than our update to the CEO, our weekly meeting with our employees, our meet-and-greet with our kids’ teachers… no other appointment is more important.
Adequate and quality sleep is responsible for our productivity, our hunger and cravings, and truly our overall wellness. When we cycle through each stage of sleep, we repair, recover, and extend our lifespan. Some scientists even say our sleep is a predictor of increased intelligence!
The better we sleep, the more confident and strong we become. So tell me, are you ready to feel amazing in your body? Then it’s time to catch a few more z’s!
In my Small Group Concierge Wellness sessions, we focus on creating small manageable habits like setting the environment for sleep, creating a bedtime routine, and, yes, decreasing screen time as the sun goes down. If you’re feeling inspired, learn more about my new cohort beginning this fall.