This blog is dedicated to oilfield workers, night shift workers, military personnel, and the rest of us who want/need to be up twenty-four hours a day.
Some of us are students; some of us are moms with newborns; some of us just have too much stuff to do to be bothered by sleep, even though we know we’d do everything a lot better if we allowed ourselves to sleep.
Some of us don’t fit into any category neatly.
Does it sound like you belong in this group that gets little sleep? You’re not alone. Deep down, our society has hated having to sleep for hundreds of years.
Why you should make time to sleep tonight
There are dozens of reasons scattered throughout the pages of this blog.
Read on and find out. Life can be 100 percent better with enough sleep.
You can resist infection. You can be more alert. You can learn more quickly. You can feel great.
That’s three quick reasons.
The Dream Recovery System’s goal is to make sleep sexy. How? By showcasing the power and wonder of your subconscious through dream journaling.
Through dreams you’ll be introduced to the power and wonder of your mind and the universe itself.
Our main goal is to make you so excited about sleep that you become a super sleeper.
You can do a lot of good for yourself with the tools here.
Pillars of health
There are three pillars to maintaining physical health: diet; exercise; sleep. Of the three, sleep is easily the most neglected. Exercise a half hour and you’ve done good. Spend an hour in eating and meal preparation and you’ve done good.
Sleep enough? Well, that’s going to take seven or eight hours. Thirty minutes isn’t going to cut it over the course of a whole day.
Every night, one-third of the adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep. If the consequences were felt immediately — like a lack of water, oxygen, or food — this would be a crisis on the top of everyone’s list.
It’s not, so it isn’t.
It’s called the National Sleep Debt.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this chronic sleep shortfall causes:
- increased reaction times leading to accidents. Tiredness is the same as driving drunk when it comes to effects.
- impairment in thinking and learning. A lack of sleep dumbs a person down. It makes them forgetful.
- an increase in cardiovascular problems and diabetes.
- difficulty in keeping a healthy weight.
- an effect to the natural secretion of certain hormones leading to other bodily malfunctions.
- premature aging.
- an increase in the chance of premature death.
Studies suggest there are a lot of very sleepy people out there.
Sleep and the individual
Long-term sleep deprivation is a bit insidious. It messes up lots of different things, screwing them up to a degree that ranges from a little bit to a moderate amount.
Unless, of course, sleep deprivation involves nodding off while driving or piloting a motor vehicle and crashing. When that happens, consequences are catastrophic.
Incredibly, the chronic lack of sleep also affects the individual’s judgment about sleep itself. It affects the ability to make decisions. Studies show when an individual gets used to the idea of getting less-than-enough sleep, they stop noticing the sleep deficit.
The CDC survey numbers suggest a crisis of epidemic proportions. The most infamous epidemic, the bubonic plague, killed off between 30 and 60 percent of the people in Europe in the 14th century. The National Sleep Deficit affects more people, however. More people are alive today. If this were a sensationalist blog, we should probably title this entry in the tallest letters possible “TODAY’S SLEEP CRISIS — WORSE THAN THE PLAGUE!!!”
Do You Owe Part Of the National Sleep Debt?
It doesn’t do any good to wring our hands. It doesn’t help to piously proclaim people are bad because they’re shortchanging themselves on sleep. We’re all guilty of this from time to time. Life happens. It’s easy to get distracted and not want to bother with going to bed. Shift workers are commonly affected but somebody has to work those shifts.
People individually need to adopt strategies to see that they get the amount that they need. You’re supposed to wake up feeling refreshed, raring to go every morning. This blog is dedicated to giving each individual the tools they need to help themselves and their family and friends. These tools start with mindset.
And we realize that everyone prefers simple solutions. Take a pill, go to sleep. Internet discussion boards are full of people asking what kind of combination of natural supplements can they take to help them get some sleep.
That seems simple. It isn’t. Sleeping pills and other concoctions aren’t a long-term answer. Pills have side effects and sometimes stop working. Further, they’re habit forming. What’s worse is seeing what happens when somebody doesn’t make the lifestyle changes necessary to allow themselves enough time to sleep and takes a sleeping pill. They’re even more impaired than they were before; more dangerous to themselves and others.
Lifestyle changes should always lead the way. Sleep health and knowledge is a skill like other things. Strangely enough, these lifestyle changes haven’t been studied to the level they should. There are signs that’s changing, however, like with the five-year study the National Institute of Nursing Research is funding at the University of Buffalo in insomnia in cancer survivors.
Starting in December 2018, UB is trying a therapy called Brief Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia. It’s a nurse-guided, non-pharmacological intervention. Then they’re following it to understand the long-term results of the study at monthly intervals.
The scientists study interventions like strengthening the mental association between the bedroom and sleep; spending less time in bed; controlling for factors like temperature, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. In our own lives, we can take matters into our own hands. We can observe the effects of journaling our dreams, brainwave entrainment, meditation, self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques. A healthy lifestyle includes eating right, getting enough exercise and rest. There’s a lot of ways to eat right and exercise; sleeping is no exception. There’s no one single solution for each person.
That’s because the sleep debt is a complex problem. It has tendrils that reach beyond the 24/7 demands of modern society to self-discipline and even into the spiritual realm.
If you give yourself many reasons to adopt a healthy habit, keeping the habit becomes much easier. One way to adopt healthy sleep habits is to keep a dream journal. Dreaming is part of sleep. Adopting techniques to allow yourself to chart and record your dreams allows yourself to sleep better and make contact with your subconscious.
We take a do-it-yourself approach to health maintenance and maximization. We’re interested in the spiritual aspects to a loss of sleep too. We’re interested in self-help. You, after all, know yourself the best. As with eating right and getting enough exercise, you’ve ultimately got to do the work yourself anyway. As with exercise, whether you’re working out in a tony, high-priced gym or doing push-ups on the floor at home, you end up doing the work yourself. Do-it-yourself should always be your first step.
James Cobb, RN, MSN
A former newspaper reporter for the Savannah (Ga.) News-Press and other daily newspapers, James P. Cobb has been an emergency department nurse since 2003, primarily working nights. He’s also the author of several science-fiction/ western novels and “Become Healthier With Your Smartphone.”
Needless to say, when it comes to sleep, Americans and others aren’t making themselves healthier with their smartphone usage at bedtime.
Resources for further reading