Optimize Your Sleep

From your sleep schedule to your mattress, learn about how to create a lifestyle that prioritizes and optimizes sound slumber.

Photo by Adobe Stock/JenkoAtaman

Sleep is a big deal, a fact we’re all waking up to. As research mounts on the benefits of getting a good night’s rest — as well as the detrimental effects of sleep restriction — the sleep aids industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and is poised to exceed $100 billion by 2023.

Whether you celebrate or bemoan sleep’s rising star, the verdict is in: There’s no badge of glory to be earned in skimping on your zzz’s.

The Growing Sleep Movement

First things first: A good night’s rest isn’t just essential for growing children. And according to Catherine Darley, founder of the Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, the most common sleep problem is simply not getting enough of it.

Seven to nine hours is ideal for the average healthy adult, yet statistics show that more than a third of Americans fall short of the recommended amount of shut-eye. An explosion of recent research confirms that the negative consequences of this extend far beyond feeling groggy. A lack of sleep is linked to impaired cognitive and physical performance, increased irritability, decreased pain tolerance, and even social withdrawal and loneliness — and that’s just the short list.

On the flip side, there’s much to be gained from being well-rested. Aside from the obvious benefit of looking and feeling refreshed, healthy sleep also makes us more empathetic, less vulnerable to rejection, and better at managing anger.

5/14/2020 8:15:59 PM

My son has terrible trouble resetting his sleep schedule. He even once convinced himself that he was one of those few people whose circadian rhythms were the opposite of 99.9% of the human race (with the help of the internet, where one can rationalize anything). Well, he's finally back to thinking logically, but can't seem to quite get there. He tries to stay up all day after staying up all night, and that doesn't work; he always winds up falling asleep about noon or a little after. He knows about the light from his iPad stimulating his brain (I've told him numerous times), but claims it relaxes him. It really affects him negatively in all the ways mentioned in your article. Any advice on how to help him?

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