If you’re reading this in the afternoon, you may be dreamily asking yourself, “When can I move to a place where people take siestas?” No one here takes that personally. We sometimes ask ourselves the same question – or its modern office equivalent, “Do you think our CFO would approve a nap desk?"
The reality is that American workers almost always need to get all their sleep in one good stretch at night. And make no mistake about it – all adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night every night, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Here are the top 5 reasons that when we have a great idea like requisitioning a nap desk, we really do need to sleep on it.
The most serious avoidable catastrophes we’ve known in our lifetimes have been linked to sleep deprived people on the job. Think on the scale of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Exxon Valdez. On an everyday scale, the Institute of Medicine tells us that almost 20 percent of serious car accidents are related to driver sleepiness, independent of alcohol effects.
Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression have assumed an increasingly common role in premature death and illness. One other thing these chronic diseases have in common? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that elevated rates are linked to insufficient sleep.
Trying your best to be a lifelong learner? Then you need to sleep! It’s during sleep that our brains do the physiological work to lay down memory tracks. The National Science Foundation has determined that both short and long term memories are consolidated during sleep.
We all need new ways of looking at old problems. Sleep actually makes that possible! It isn’t just our dreams that inspire us – sleep allows us to recognize things we’ve learned and restructure them in new ways. Sleep inspires insight.
Sometimes research tells us exactly what we already know: when people are sleep deprived, they are more irritable, angry and hostile, as well as depressed. And a well-rested person is more likely to feel – well – just great!
And now, here’s something that can easily lift your mood for today. Just when we need it most, we turn the clocks back for an extra hour of sleep this weekend. Let’s really make it count!
Till then, the National Sleep Foundation offers some tricks and tips here to help you get a better night’s rest.