Sleep is one of the pillars of good health. It is as important to your wellbeing as the air you breathe and the food you eat. Like water, sleep is something we cannot survive without for an extended period of time. Studies have established the link between sleep and a variety of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure and obesity. It has never been more apparent that sleep is essential to living a healthy lifestyle.
And yet, many of us continue to act as if sleep is a luxury that we can’t afford. We skip sleep to catch up on work without realizing we are decreasing our productivity the next day just by being overtired. When we do sleep, we don’t sleep enough leading to a cumulative sleep deficit that results in significant deficits in cognition, memory, attention, and complex decision making according to research compiled by the National Institutes of Health. We are compromising our long term health and short term productivity to make a few short term gains.
The NIH report also concluded that one of the biggest challenges we face in the area of sleep medicine is not funding for research or new avenues to pursue but rather the education of the general public as to the seriousness of the problem. Until the prevailing attitude that adequate sleep isn’t a requirement changes, people will continue to sacrifice sleep to get more done and idolize those who seem to thrive and succeed on a few hours sleep a night.
The best way to change minds and adjust attitudes is with education, so let’s test your sleep IQ and see if you know as much as you think you do about sleep. Answer True or False to the following statements:
- On average, adults need 5-8 hours of sleep a night depending on how active they are during the day.
- The environment most conducive to sleep is a comfortable bed in a room that is dark, quiet, and cool.
- If you need to stay up 4 extra hours and finish a project tonight, you can make up that time on the weekend by sleeping in for the same number of hours.
- Having a glass of wine at bedtime can help you fall asleep faster and get a good night’s sleep.
- Taking a nap can improve productivity and alertness without negatively impacting sleep later that night.
- False. The NSF recommends that on average adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
- True. Creating the right sleep environment can be the key to a good night sleep according to the NSF.
- False. Sleep debt accumulates over time and can be very difficult to “pay back”. The NSF says that keeping a regular sleep schedule during the week and on weekends can help maintain good sleep hygiene.
- False. The NSF recommends avoiding alcohol in the hours before bedtime in order to get a good night sleep. Although alcohol can make you drowsy, it can impact the quality of your sleep all night long.
- True. The NSF states that napping can help with alertness and productivity.
Want to know more? Take these other fun sleep quizzes.
- National Geographic’s Need More Sleep? Quiz
- National Institute of Health’s Interactive Sleep Quiz
- Dr. Oz’s Sleep Quiz
- Discovery’s Body Works Sleep Challenge
- AAA Drowsy Driving Prevention Sleep Quiz
- Health Effects of Over-Sleeping (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Depression Drug May Hold the Key to Helping Cure Insomnia (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Break Those Bad Bedtime Habits (valleysleepcenter.com)