Identifying Our 21st Century Sleep Problem
Here’s a scary fact: Two-thirds of all adults born in developed nations achieve less than the recommended amount of sleep every night.
This is sobering because even mild sleep deprivation has major repercussions for every aspect of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
In the long-term, there are well-established links between sleep deprivation and the risk of developing of more serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, anxiety, depression and every form of psychiatric illness…
…sorry, we're starting to sound like a British newspaper.
Public health warnings about our sleep deprivation epidemic, although informative, are inherently bound to fear-based motivation that rarely results in us changing our behaviour.
Change is driven by curiosity, an intrinsic desire to investigate the things that we don’t understand but find interesting, exciting and novel.
We’ve heard enough about the perils of poor sleep already.
What you want to know now is how to reliably identify if we have a sleep problem and how to effectively resolve it.
Identifying a sleep issue sounds easy, perhaps even obvious, but it isn’t always straightforward.
Many of us have become so accustomed to our problematic sleep routines that we experience a kind of ‘functional’ sleep deprivation.
We've seen it over and over again with our clients – the problem is not knowing that they have a problem.
This leads us to believe that the root cause of many individuals’ sense of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, unease and suffering lies mysteriously concealed within their sub-clinically disordered sleeping habits.
Action is the biggest cure-all, but for this to occur we need awareness.
For this reason, we think it’s worth-while taking an honest appraisal of your own sleep, if not regularly then perhaps just once, to raise the bar of consciousness surrounding your health.
Admittedly, this can be an uncomfortable and often bitter pill to swallow, but a certain level of self-awareness and acceptance is required in order to spark the desire to evolve.
As the famous humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers reminded us;
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.”
Time to be honest with yourself.
In the last 14 days, how often have you:
- Laid in bed with trouble falling asleep? (do the thoughts ever stop?)
- Had trouble staying asleep throughout the night? (2AM… 3AM… 4AM… 5AM, okay I’m getting up now)
- Felt tired or fatigued upon waking? (how has my snooze button not broken already?)
- Achieved less than 7/8 hours of restful sleep? (“trust me, I get by just fine with 6”)
- Used prescription drugs or alcohol to induce the state rest you rightfully deserve? (doing the best that we can with the tools that we’re given)
We'd hedge our bets that every reader can resonate with at least one or more of those points, if not in yourself then in those directly closest to you.
The more important question therefore becomes; how can we support and educate people to sleep better?
Many of our health and educational institutions, although well-intentioned, still do not possess the most up to date theoretical knowledge and understanding of sleep science, let alone direct clinical experience with, or awareness of, effective tools and strategies for naturally improving sleep.
If you haven’t already begun noticing, there is a shift occurring in health care.
A new dawn of lifestyle medicine is emerging, whereby the responsibility to become educated and informed about health ultimately lies with us, the individual.
The topic of sleep is no exception. In fact, it presents an exciting opportunity for self-empowerment. We might realise just how great it feels to take ownership of our own health and feel better exclusively as a result of our own efforts.
Throughout our education and career, we've have become fascinated with studying the science behind sleep. This has culminated in a deep desire to help individuals to understand, achieve and sustain the real-life changes that can help them to sleep better and live better.
The purpose of this series of free articles and blog posts is to share simple, effective and actionable information that will help you to achieve the quality rest and recovery that you deserve.
Better sleep will allow you to live a fuller and more satisfying personal and professional life.
We hope you’ll stick around to find out more, but first, we have a few questions.
- Do you suffer from sleep issues?
- Is this an area of your wellbeing that you are focused on improving?
- What topics would you like to hear more about?
- How can we help you?
We'd love to hear from you!
Every like, share and comment on this blog post enables us to reach a wider audience and provide more free online content that will help us to change more lives.
Thank you for all of your support.
Please get in touch if you have any questions!
Dan & Jamie