More Sleep: A Resolution Worth Keeping?

OK. Admit it. You’re glad the holidays are over — and you can return to your regular work and life routine. Well, I may be overstating that a little, but I like my daily schedule: up early, exercise, work, late afternoon meeting with John Jameson and so on.

And that’s why I forgo New Year’s resolutions. I’m doing just fine, thank you.

But here’s a resolution that would be worth making and keeping: Get more sleep.

That’s the gist of an interesting article on The Huffington Post: “Sleep Challenge 2010: Women, It’s Time to Sleep Our Way to the Top. Literally.” (Hey. Gotta love the headline. The writers/pundits/editors at The Huffington Post know how to attract eyeballs.)

The sleep challenge is ostensibly aimed at women but applies to everyone. Here’s from the post:

As women, we make a lot of New Year’s resolutions — “lose 10 pounds” and “finally write that novel” and “lose 10 pounds — seriously.” But this year, the two of us (that’s HuffPost’s Arianna Huffington and Glamour‘s Cindi Leive) are suggesting you make a New Year’s resolution that could improve the status of all women in this country, starting with you. No, we’re not talking about universal child care or even banning Tiger Woods from ever texting again. If you ask us, the next feminist issue is sleep. And in order for women to get ahead in this country, we’re all going to have to lie down and take a nap.

Stay with us here for a minute. Americans are increasingly sleep-deprived, and the sleepiest people are, you guessed it, women. Single working women and working moms with young kids are especially drowsy: They tend to clock in an hour and a half shy of the roughly 7.5-hour minimum the human body needs to function happily and healthfully. Cindi admits that between her work, her two young children and her wicked TV addiction, she averages only five and a bit; as for Arianna, she had a rude (and painful) awakening two years ago when she passed out from exhaustion, broke her cheekbone and got five stitches over her eye. Ever since then, she’s been working on bringing more balance, and more sleep, into her life­ with varying degrees of success.

Not getting enough sleep is a serious matter with many consequences, including illness and depression and the potential to harm yourself or others in an accident. And at a time when we are looking at health care — and health care expenses — this is an issue worth looking at.

I’ve had bouts with insomnia — linked as best I can tell at least in part to shifts in my metabolism related to my low thyroid condition. And at best I’m what people would describe as a “short sleeper.” I fall asleep (most of the time) at night but I’m up a few hours later. And I’ve noticed more and more on Twitter and in other online venues that people — women and men, young and old — are lamenting regularly that they can’t sleep at all, or enough.

Are you among them?

So maybe The Huffington Post has it right. Maybe we do need a national sleep challenge.

I’ll do my part this afternoon by taking my first workday nap of the new year.



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