In modern society, we’re sleeping less than ever before with almost one in two people surviving on six hours or less sleep a night. In 1942 that number was less than 8% of the population. Why are we sleeping less than ever before?
1. Longer commutes
Housing prices and urban sprawl mean people are commuting for longer than ever. Rather than skip a cup of tea with their partners though, most people are foregoing sleep to maintain the same amount of interaction with their families.
2. Screen time past lights out
If you relish an end of the day catch up on your favourite Instagram accounts when your head is on the pillow, you’re starving your body of melatonin. Melatonin is the snazzy hormone that says ‘time to sleep’ and inducts your body into its sleep-ready state.
3. Saying “I’m busy” is a new trend
If you’re really busy, you’re probably not sleeping very much. Sadly, ‘being busy’ has become a badge of honour. In 2018 you’re far more likely to hear the man on the train next to you saying “I’m just so busy this week’ instead of ‘I had the best, longest sleep last night.’
Check out this story of how a Kiwi woman transitioned from busyness to calm here.
4. Caffeine is part of our daily routine
Coffee is delicious, but it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ part of the brain, instead of the ‘rest and digest’ system that helps relax us. If you’re constantly ready to fight off a bear thanks to caffeine-induced adrenaline, you’re unlikely to be sleeping well.
Learn more about how too much caffeine can cause you to be 'Accidentally Anxious' below:
5. We’re always available thanks to tech
When your boss sends an urgent email at 9pm, you can’t really ignore it in this day and age. Luckily for most people, urgent late-night emails aren’t a reality, however most of us voluntarily check work emails and documents after leaving the office. By always being available, we’re less able to switch off our brains from ‘problem solving work mode’ to rest and relaxation mode that helps prepare us for sleep.
Here's the good news
By making a small change to your lifestyle and any of the things above, you can make a huge change to your sleep and energy levels.
Learn what small changes can make the greatest difference below: