The Data Says That You’re Probably Not Sleeping or Relaxed Enough

Everyone says that they like to relax, but a new study finds that people aren’t practicing what they preach. From going on vacation to getting a good night’s rest, the citizens of the world are severely underperforming. If you ever wonder how you can get a better night of sleep and wake up rested, try my free masterclass on getting better sleep, you’ll wake up happy you did!

I recently commented on the release of the 10th Annual Relaxation Survey which held some very interesting and somewhat troubling statistics. When it comes to a good night’s sleep, fifty-three percent of Americans are sleep-deprived and only fifty-four percent of Americans utilize all their days off of work. 

Although many are fatigued here in the United States, we aren’t the most sleep- and vacation-deprived country in the world. We’re close though. (We’re ranked #4.) The honor or, maybe, dishonor of being the most sleep-deprived country falls to the United Kingdom. Two-thirds (66%) of the UK are sleep-deprived with Singapore (61%) and Australia (59%) close behind.

The UK also ranked at the bottom in days taken off to catch up on sleep with only four days taken (on average) per year. The United States and Australia tied for second at seven days. 

I’ve spoken at great length about the importance of a good night’s sleep. However, I think what gets mentioned a little bit less is the importance of relaxation. Stress and anxiety are both very disruptive and are hallmark symptoms of insomnia. 

If you have vacation days, It’s not a waste to use them, even if that day off is used just to catch up on your sleep. You’ll be more relaxed, less prone to anxiety and stress and healthier overall. (I recommend taking a Princess Cruise and sleeping in one of their Princess Luxury Beds that I helped design. That’s how I relax.) 

How Being in Nature Helps with Insomnia

On National Relaxation Day, I went on TV in Utah and spoke there about the aforementioned Relaxation Survey, and while I was on the air I discussed a Utah-based study where people with insomnia went camping and within two weeks their insomnia was gone.

There has been several positive investigations that demonstrate that camping can alleviate insomnia. It helps to reset circadian rhythms which regulate sleep, appetite, mood, digestion, cognitive function and sexual performance, so yes, camping can really be a nice tool to get your sleep cycle back where it’s supposed to be. However, there other sleep-related benefits to trekking boldly into the great outdoors: 

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Conducive to positive thinking
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Cuts down on exposure to electrical light
  • Helps produce melatonin 

Utah, beautiful as it is, might be the ideal state for camping and enjoying the outdoors, but camping in any stretch of wilderness will work just fine. 

Make Sure to Get Support from Your Mattress 

If all this talk of relaxation isn’t making you a little excited about resting in your bed, it might be time to think of getting a new mattress.

A mattress is a piece of equipment that can enhance performance in the same way that an athletic shoe can. You might have heard me say this before but using a low-quality mattress is like running a footrace in flip-flops. You’re going to lose the race, and you’re going to have a bad time doing it. 

Maybe the most important factor of finding a new mattress is balancing comfort and support. Everyone’s idea of comfort is going to be different. Some people like a firm mattress. There are those who idealize a big, fluffy marshmallow type of bed. Neither preference is technically better, but if you prefer a soft bed, you need to make sure that you have enough support so that your spine is aligned and that your muscles can relax. 

Here are a few specific things that you should be looking for in terms of support. 

  • Support the sleeper without the hips sinking into the mattress
  • Relief at the pressure points: head, knees, hips and shoulders
  • Allows relaxation of the muscles, especially the back muscles
  • Stiffness is good sign that your mattress is not providing adequate support. 

You can shop for a new mattress from your own bed

Q: When I stay up too late, I laugh at things that aren’t funny and sometimes spout goofy nonsense. I’m usually pretty reserved. Why do I act differently late at night? 

When you stay up too late, your brain slowly tilts out of whack. A few years back, researchers examined the brains of sleep-deprived subjects with an MRI. They found that the amygdalas of the test subjects had gone into hyperdrive. The amygdala is responsible for emotions and survival instincts. It’s what they sometimes call your lizard brain or the fear center. 

When your amygdala is overactive, it overrides the prefrontal cortex, and we use the prefrontal cortex for all our fancy logic and reasoning. With our logic and reasoning impaired, we are at the whim of our emotions and survival instincts. Even a reserved person like yourself may act out of character. 

Being extremely sleepy is similar to being drunk. This is a good reminder that driving while drowsy is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Don’t do it  The side effects of short-term sleep deprivation can include: 

  • Low Tolerance to Stress
  • Emotional Instability 
  • Short-Term Memory Loss
  • Cognition Issues
  • Decrease in Performance
  • Irritability 

A healthy person can stay up late every once and a while without any long-term health risks. College students are, for the most part, going to be OK cramming all night for an exam, at least healthwise. Their grades might suffer from lack of sleep though.  

That’s all for this week! here is another article I was featured in this week that you may enjoy.

4 Legit Reasons Why Employees Should Be Able To Nap On The Job – ThriveGlobal.com

Sweet Dreams,
Dr. Michael Breus 

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