Did you know that March 16th is World Sleep Day? It’s not an official U.S. holiday, but perhaps it should be. The statistics continue to show that we are a nation (and world) of seriously sleep deprived people.
Two thirds of the people in the U.S. don’t get enough sleep. 87% of high school students are suffering from lack of sleep. Unfortunately all the research on the benefits of sleep have not been enough to bring radical change to the statistics: not only are we sleep deprived, but we’re also quite uneducated about it! Most of us think we “get enough” sleep, not having any guidelines about what “enough” really means.
Below is a quick questionnaire to help you assess the quality of your sleep. As you go through the questions, count up how many True statements you have, and let us know your current number in the comments section!
Maas Robins Alertness Questionnaire
These twenty statements help differentiate between well-rested and sleep-deprived individuals. Ready? Answer TRUE or FALSE.
1. I often need an alarm clock in order to wake up at the appropriate time.
2. It’s often a struggle for me to get out of bed in the morning.
3. Weekday mornings I often hit the snooze bar several times.
4. I often feel tired and stressed out during the week.
5. I often feel moody and irritable, and little things upset me.
6. I often have trouble concentrating and remembering.
7. I often feel slow with critical thinking, problem solving, and being creative.
8. I need caffeine to get going in the morning or make it through the afternoon.
9. I often wake up craving junk food, sugars, and carbohydrates.
10. I often fall asleep watching TV.
11. I often fall asleep in boring meetings or lectures or in warm rooms.
12. I often fall asleep after heavy meals or after a low dose of alcohol.
13. I often fall asleep while relaxing after dinner.
14. I often fall asleep within five minutes of getting into bed.
15. I often feel drowsy while driving.
16. I often sleep extra hours on the weekends.
17. I often need a nap to get through the day.
18. I have dark circles around my eyes.
19. I fall asleep easily when watching a movie.
20. I rely on energy drinks or over-the-counter medications to keep me awake.
Results: If you answered “True” to four or more of these statements, CONSIDER YOURSELF SERIOUSLY SLEEP-DEPRIVED!
Developed by Dr. James B. Maas and Rebecca S. Robbins of Cornell University
This is the season when everyone is making their gift list and checking it more than twice, making sure no one is left off and that no gift is simply a repeat from last year. Time and money are budgeted for this important activity, which impacts so many in our life. It may be the one time of year when we are a little more generous than normal or even become extravagant.
Where are we personally on the gift list? I would guess not too many are at the top of it. More than likely we put ourselves at the bottom or maybe we don’t even think to put our name on it at all. If you are on not on your list, go ahead and add your name and think about what you would like as a gift. Maybe you are dreaming big for a new car or spectacular vacation.
Here’s a suggestion for what may be the best gift you could possibly give yourself—the gift of sleep. You may roll your eyes at this gift idea, but consider it for a moment. Better sleep and more of it has benefits that impact physical and emotional health as well as creativity, productivity, and performance. This is the gift that truly keeps on giving.
There are many ways to give yourself this gift of sleep. It may mean investing in a sound machine to drown out noise, black out curtains to block out light, or even a new mattress. There are ways to give this gift without spending a dime just by leaving disconnecting earlier from social media and going to bed an hour earlier.
Whatever your budget is this year for presents, remember to give yourself the gift of sleep. You will be glad you did!
Faith Blatchford is the author of several books, including her most recent one, Winning the Battle for the Night: God’s Plan for Sleep, Dreams and Revelation. She is an international speaker, a licensed pastoral counselor with a B.A. in religion from Vassar College, as well as a certified sleep science coach. Faith is the founder of The Sleep Project, which offers education, training and consulting to provide sleep solutions to individuals and businesses.