THE BLOG

Looking for More Success? Build a Sleep System

11/07/2012 08:20 am ET | Updated Jan 07, 2013
Flickr: calleecakes

For those that are living always "on" in an always-connected, overwired world, there simply is never enough time. Especially for sleep. All too often, when there is time for sleep, we can't. Our minds are too busy to turn off.

We are a tired country. Would it surprise you that 43 percent of Americans ages 13- 64 say they rarely or never get a good night's sleep on weeknights?

Statistics from the National Sleep Foundation report:

More than half (60 percent) say that they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night (i.e., snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early, or feeling un-refreshed when they get up in the morning.)" And 15 percent of adults between 19 and 64 and 7 percent of 13-18 year olds say that they sleep less than six hours on weeknights.

When it comes to sleep, amount, depth, and quality matter. The National Sleep Foundation offers clear and compelling recommendations for good "sleep hygiene."

So why are we a nation struggling with sleep?

Technology.

Technology is great, until it isn't. In our always-on, always-connected lifestyles, we are overwired. Our capacity to work from anywhere at anytime of the day is having a ripple effect of negative consequences for our health, our happiness, our relationships and our sleep.

It seems that the more connected we are and the more distractions we face and, the less effective we become. Being less effective means we have to work more hours to get caught up. And the longer we work, the less sleep we have. The less sleep we have, the less effective we are. It is a never-ending, depressing downward spiral.

What are our options?

Unplug. Turn it off. Just say no.

Yes, this is easier said than done. Stepping back from our overwired lives requires discipline. The pressure comes from within us. We are biologically wired to connect. With every new email, we receive a new nugget of information. From this nugget, we can get a squirt of the "feel-good" neurochemical dopamine that may become addicting. The pressure also comes from around us. People demand that we drop what we are doing to solve their problems.

Here are five recommendations to reverse the never-ending downward spiral and improve your sleep.

Build A Sleep System

For more by Camille Preston, Ph.D., PCC, click here.

For more on sleep, click here.