We do it every night, not just because we need to, but also because we like it. So then we have to ask ourselves why it is the first thing for us to cut out of our schedule? “Oh I just want to finish this task first,” makes us go to sleep later, while “Oh my gosh, there is so much I have to do before work,” makes us wake up even earlier. This is a huge problem that we are not only facing as individuals, but as a society. This is what I would call the sleep deprivation crisis, which is having a great effect on our health, job performance, relationships and happiness whether we realize it or not.
A little over 60 years ago, only 11% of us were getting less than six hours of sleep every night. Today, more than 40% of us get less than six hours. Raise your hand if you’re one of them! This is probably a leading reason that more than 60 million prescriptions are written every year for sleeping pills. It all adds up and in the end, sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy about $63 billion every single year. That’s not all either. Drowsy drivers get into 328,000 accidents every year and 6,400 of them are fatal.
This is why we need a sleep revolution and it looks like it could already be beginning. Businesses, schools, medicine, sports, arts – all industries and sectors are recognizing the importance of sleep. Goldman Sachs has even banned interns from staying in the office overnight. Other top business leaders such as Cambell’s Soup CEO Denize Morison, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella have openly spoken about how they keep sleep as a high priority.
Even athletes are realizing that sleep is the ultimate performance-enhancing drug. Roger Federer says that if he does not get enough sleep, he does not feel right on the court. The world’s fastest man is with him too, saying that he needs to give his body rest and recover after hard training.
Let’s think about it. Sleep gives us the opportunity to connect with a deeper part of ourselves. All of the things that buzz around us – our jobs, relationships, emotions all cease during sleep. It is from this clearing of noise and clutter that we can awake the next morning rejuvenated and with fresh eyes – a reinvigorated spirit.