It’s a hurly-burly, fast-paced world of 24-hour news cycles and endless demands on our time, with workday tasks seemingly outnumbering the minutes of the day. It’s a wonder we get any sleep at all.
So, what to do? Many of us embrace the American tradition of skimping on sleep during the week, figuring we can still maintain productivity at the office. Then we try to catch up on our shut-eye on the weekend. What’s the harm in that?
A study out of the University of South Florida, however, suggests that we face mental and physical consequences even after one night of inadequate sleep. That’s defined as six or fewer hours of slumber. And it gets worse from there.
This sleep investigation gathered data from 2,000 middle-aged adults and found that symptoms of sleep loss worsened until Day 3 with inadequate bedtime. That’s when the body temporarily adjusts a bit. But then on Day 6, symptoms heightened to their worst.
So, chuck the idea of being your best at work by cheating your body out of a full night’s rest. Researchers note sleepless participants in their study reported a range of dysfunctional emotions, including anger, nervousness, frustration and loneliness. Physical symptoms included digestive problems, aches, upper respiratory issues and other ailments.
Sleeplessness is American sport. We’re a nation of night owls. We howl at the jokes in late-night TV monologues and stress about jobs as we stare at our darkened bedroom ceilings looking for absent sheep to count. An estimated one-third of U.S. adults are snoozing less than six hours a night.
So, get to sleep. Seven or eight hours will do. Your boss will thank you. But more importantly, your body and mind will, too.