In 2024, Make Sufficient Sleep a Necessity!
This blog topic really resonated with me. To be completely transparent, I started writing this blog at 4:30 in the morning after being woken up by my two-year-old son Eilam and not being able to fall back asleep. Although I am no longer in the sleepless nights newborn phase of motherhood, having my sleep interrupted at some ungodly hour like 3 AM is a pretty common occurrence for me. Eilam often wakes up in the middle of the night and sings some of his favorite songs like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” or repeats new phrases that he has learned like “Be careful!” It’s funny, it’s cute and it’s also incredibly frustrating. My husband always tells me he doesn't understand why I can’t just fall back asleep. If you are a light sleeper and a person who gets easily overstimulated like me, you understand why. Anyway, I know I’m not alone here.
According to a study published in 2019 in the journal SLEEP, which is the official journal of the Sleep Research Society, both men and women experience issues with sleep satisfaction and duration up to six years after the birth of their first child.
And, of course, it’s not just parents who are constantly sleep deprived. Back in February, Scripps News published an article about America’s sleep deprivation crisis. The article discusses a recent study which found evidence suggesting that less than one third of American adults are getting restorative sleep every night.
“And many Americans aren’t getting enough sleep period — restorative or otherwise,” Scripps reported.
"The amount of the average duration of sleep reported by us people has been declining steadily. In around 1910, the average American was asleep in excess of nine hours per night," said Francesco Cappuccio, a cardiovascular and sleep expert who Scripps interviewed.
I bet most of you reading this haven’t had nine hours of sleep in a night in ages, most likely not since you were a young child.
There is also a trend, sometimes called the viral 5am wake routine, I have recently seen on social media that I think is important to address. A lot of moms are sharing their 5am (sometimes even earlier) wake up routine, which usually involves some kind of working out and self-care before their kids get up for the day. Both stay-at-home and working moms feel pressure to do this, because this quiet, uninterrupted time is often the only alone time they have to do something for themselves. In no way am I discouraging people from waking up early to workout (especially if someone is overweight or morbidly obese and weight loss is critical), however, I do think we need to remember that sleep is essential to our health.
“Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression,” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Sleep, or a lack thereof, is not a new topic of discussion for the pH team. We have published more than 20 blogs on sleep, but the issue of sleep deprivation and a lack of sleep quality continues to be relevant
Less happy, more anxious.
According to a recent study that looked at more than 50 years of research about sleep deprivation and mood, a loss of sleep can make us less happy and more anxious. Perhaps one of our main 2024 goals should be to get more sleep.
Some of the research looked at involved participants going through three types of sleep loss (according to a report from the American Psychological Society and published by Medical Xpress):
- Being kept awake for an extended period
- “Shorter-than-typical” amount of sleep
- Periodically awakened throughout the night
I can definitely relate to the latter two.
“Overall, the researchers found that all three types of sleep loss resulted in fewer positive emotions such as joy, happiness and contentment among participants, as well as increased anxiety symptoms such as a rapid heart rate and increased worrying,” reported American Psychological Society.
I think I speak for many when I say this is not surprising. We are not meant to live off of little sleep, and this often gets ignored in America’s burnout culture. Burnout can definitely extend beyond someone’s professional life. So many people now are probably feeling burnt out and sleep deprived from the holidays.
First, I think that it is key to engrain in our minds that sufficient and quality sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. We must prioritize it and adjust if there are factors (such as toddlers who wake up in the middle of the night!) that create roadblocks to getting enough good sleep. I myself need to prioritize going to bed earlier and cutting off screen time at a certain hour. I may not be able to prevent Eilam from waking up in the middle of the night and singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” but I can practice good sleep hygiene. I also recently gave up caffeine which has allowed me to fall asleep much more easily.
Magnesium is also an essential mineral that may help combat insomnia. It is important to undergo routine nutrient tests in order to identify any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. To also learn about specific foods, like cherries, that may help you sleep better, read here. And for additional tips you can use to improve sleep, check out these pH blogs.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional healthcare team includes recognized experts from a variety of healthcare and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.