“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.” -Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, famously drew international attention to the sleep deprivation crisis in an age where lack of sleep routinely impacts people’s decision-making skills, health, work and personal lives. She argues for a sleep revolution — a renewed relationship with sleep to allow people to recharge and reclaim control in their lives.
Indeed, copious research data show that poor sleep and sleep deprivation can have negative impacts on individual health, including concentration, stress management, mood, and diet. Sleep deprivation can lead to more serious and chronic health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and Type II diabetes. In fact, an economic study using data from five OECD countries concluded that individuals sleeping less than an average of six hours per night have a 13 percent higher risk of mortality than those sleeping at least seven hours!
Sleep loss not only results in individual consequences, but it also impacts the collective economy. According to Rand Europe, the cumulative loss for the developed world economies from poor sleep amounts to nearly $US 680bn. That’s slightly more than the 2017 estimated GDP of Switzerland.
The culture of sleep
I’m sure you’ve heard the dismissal of sleep as a waste of time — the emblematic saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I know more than one person who brags (truthfully or not) about only needing 3-4 hours per sleep each night. But to what end? This attitude, combined with technological advances and increasing prevalence of sleep disorders, creates a recipe for sleep deprivation.
How did we get here?
In an age of workaholism, a macho figure of sleeplessness has emerged — both becoming a societal norm and gathering accolades from those aiming for greatness. According to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation, the 8-9 hours of sleep per night was the average in 1960. In the 2000’s, that number had declined to seven hours.
Let’s consider Samuel Walton, CEO of Walmart, who was known for his eccentric work schedule. To prepare for his 7:00 a.m. Saturday staff meetings, Walton would wake up 2:00 a.m. to review sales figures. A usual business day for Walton would run from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. Touted in business books, long working hours have become aspirational for many business executives for whom the “no pain, no gain” mentality has taken on a life of its own.
To compound this problem, constant internet, television, and smartphone interactions keep people awake for too long and disrupt natural sleep patterns. The human body is made to regulate sleep with sunrise and sunset, and melatonin helps induce sleep during the night. Staring at your smartphone while in bed (guilty!) disrupts natural cycles.
Even when people may earnestly try to fall asleep, this proves easier said than done. Research shows that at least one in three adults suffers from sleeplessness at some point in life. These individuals have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and this insomnia can cause fatigue, low energy levels, altered mood, and decreased performance.
Somnuva, the future is now
Beyond temporary sleep aids like teas and white noise, Somnuva is a new product that presents a sleep solution based on human sleep phases and sleep cycles. This product uses sound technology to re-educate the brain to adopt a healthy sleep cycle, and helps individuals to overcome common reasons for insomnia.
A 21-day independent trial in 2016 carried out by a medical research company resulted in 92 percent of participants experiencing a positive impact and an average of approximately 2.5 hours increase in the hours slept per night from the first to the last night of the trial. This sound therapy naturally coaxes the brain into adopting the right frequencies for a restful sleep.
Somnuva will be launching on UpEffect in 2017. Visit Somnuva’s website to subscribe for updates.
Let’s change our relationship with rest and find a sleep solution rather than putting on a bandaid on this widespread problem. Let’s strive to be our best selves and put forward a well-rested face into the world.