Do you know why?
Because I didn’t get enough sleep last night.
What is the solution?
Get more sleep.
…not according to the energy drink and supplement industry.
Red Bull came to America by way of California in 1997. 5 hour energy came out in 2004.
The widespread popularity of these products reveals that Americans believe that sleep is not enough for them to get through their day.
The Centers for Disease Control has actually labeled insufficient sleep as a public health epidemic. According to this article from their website
Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to public health, with sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to these hazardous outcomes. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.
Get more sleep.
How much is enough? The article continues by saying
How much sleep we need varies between individuals but generally changes as we age. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that school-age children (5-10 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep daily, teens (10-17 years) need 8.5-9.5 hours, and adults need 7-9 hours . According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of ≤6 hours of sleep per day in 2005-2007.3 In 2009, only 31% of high school students reported getting at least 8 hours of sleep on an average school night.
But why aren’t we sleeping enough. According to the article,
Sleep insufficiency may be caused by broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules, but sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role. An estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. Notably, snoring is a major indicator of obstructive sleep apnea.
I believe another part of the problem is that we feel overwhelmed by the expectations in our lives. Whether they are stresses at work parenting, homework, managing money (not enough), or any number of things. The most common reaction to being overwhelmed is procrastination. In The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, Neil Fiore explains that
The procrastination habit catches people in a vicious cycle: get overwhelmed, fee pressured, fear failure, try harder, work longer, feel resentful, lose motivation, procrastinate. The cycle starts with the pressure of being overwhelmed and ends with an attempt to escape through procrastination. As long as you’re caught in the cycle, there is no escape. You can’t can’t even enjoy the recuperative and creative benefits of guilt-free leisure time. Suddenly, any time spent on play – and even time spent on more enjoyable work – feels like an uneasy shirking from what you should be doing.
The result of this is that we put off work that needs to get done, and fill that time with TV and video games, but then find ourselves under a deadline to finish. As a result, we stay up too late at night, and wind up with not enough sleep. It’s a vicious cycle because the lack of sleep furthers the problem. We are too tired to do the tasks of the next day, and so fill our lives with more procrastination habits.
So. Set down that TV and Wii remote. Get your work done, and get some sleep. And then, freed from guilt and exhaustion you can enjoy the things you were trying to enjoy before.
But don’t consume those energy drinks. They are a symptom, not a solution.
Go to bed!