You might not be aware of it, but this week (March 11- 17) is National Sleep Awareness Week. The weeklong public awareness campaign event is put on every year by the National Sleep Foundation in order to promote healthy sleep habits. This year’s National Sleep Awareness Week is more important than ever, because sleep deprivation has become a serious national health crisis. It’s estimated that nearly 75% of America’s workforce suffers from chronic sleep shortages, taking a huge toll on the economy and healthcare system. It’s not just adults, though; children are feeling the effects of sleep deprivation as well. As part of National Sleep Awareness Week, the Sleep Foundation released its annual Sleep in America® Poll, revealing just how little Americans prioritize sleep. Is it time we start taking sleep seriously?

The poll reveals that 41% of Americans admit they rarely purposefully consider how much sleep they need when planning for their next day, while only 10% of American adults consider sleep to have equal priority with other activities or habits such as exercise, diet, work, social life, and leisure time. Dr. Maurice Ohayon, Director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center and Chair of the National Sleep Foundation’s Population Health and Methodology Council, says that this year’s poll data continue to show how Americans disregard all of the science showing how important good sleep is for overall mental and physical health:

The data are clear: Good sleepers realize the benefits of a good night’s sleep and see themselves as more effective at getting things done the following day. It’s therefore disappointing to see so few people actually prioritizing their sleep

What’s it going to take to get people to take their sleep seriously? Another poll? More peer reviewed clinical research? Medical professionals and even local governments have been doing their best to educate the public, but Netflix, social media, and caffeine seem to be more persuasive. Although, a hot cup of French pressed Yirgachefe, 2:00 am, and Godzilla: Monster Planet does make a great combination…

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician from the mountains of Western North Carolina. Contact him at [email protected]

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