Are you a little sleepy right now? If so, you’re in good company. 50% of the American adult population is chronically sleep deprived. If you’ve ever tossed and turned as your mind races in the middle of the night, you’re not alone. One out of five adults has severe problems sleeping. Studies show that between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon, the average corporate executive has the alertness level of a 75year old! Can you relate to that? Many of my clients can, as they struggle to stay awake in a long, boring midafternoon meeting.
Dr. James Maas of Cornell University reports that the majority of Americans are essentially pulling one all-nighter every week – that’s how much sleep they’re losing on a continual basis. Well, you’re not a college kid anymore! You can’t pull this off forever.
I have heard so many of my clients sound almost proud of the fact that they don’t need a lot of sleep at night. They see the fact that they can get by with very little sleep as a badge of honor, a sign of how tough and productive they are. In reality, they aren’t helping themselves or anyone else with this achievement in the long run.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? You could be having “microsleeps” in which you literally sleep a few seconds at a time. Trust me, it’s happened to you…sitting in front of your computer…driving home at night. You remember the sensation of your head jerking up suddenly. Former President Ronald Reagan said, “No matter what time it is wake me up, even if it’s in the middle of a Cabinet meeting.” This is not great for your professional perception.
So, as they say on airline flights, put your own oxygen mask on first – take care of yourself by just getting 10 more minutes of shut-eye tonight. It’s an indulgence that will pay off to you in countless ways.