We train our children, from a very young age, to ignore a feeling of tiredness and work till late at night. They go on to college and all-nighters, consuming caffeine in every conceivable form to stay awake. Working hard equals staying up at night. Right?
As a society, we still wear our sleep deprivation, and our ability to function on minimal rest, as a badge of honor. The most important change we could make to turn our collective sleep habits around? We could start taking sleep a whole lot more seriously.
If sleep is my recess from a busy shift at work, insomnia is the playground mafioso, sauntering over to my place of business, demanding precious hours of sleep like it is some chump-change that I can spare.
According to Dr. William Dement of Stanford University, for most Americans, sleep debt occurs so gradually that people often attribute their fatigue to other things such as stress or illness. The travel industry has taken notice, and the newest emerging trend for 2012 is sleep vacations.
Between classes, work, responsibilities and social activities, it's hard for students in college to get the recommend eight hours of sleep each night; and even harder if you have noisy, night-owl roommates.
In our modern society of too-late work hours and too much time in front of computer screens, we are listening to our social clocks more than our physiological clocks, causing a greater sleep gap, known as social jetlag.