You, however, already knew that. You already knew that sleep, or lack thereof, can effect your ability to learn, your memory, your productivity, your creativity, your weight, and your overall health. Laundry list aside, you knew sleep is important simply because you’ve reaped the benefits of great night’s sleep and suffered the consequences of not sleeping enough.
Still, many people — especially millennials — haven’t quite nailed the whole developing-healthy-sleeping-habits thing. Consider the following excerpt from a recent Newsweek article:
A 2014 study by the American Psychological Association found that of the present generational groupings — millennials, Gen Xers, boomers and mature — millennials were by far the most stressed, and reported the highest rates of “feeling sluggish or lazy” and “having trouble concentrating on things they need to do.”
Could it be because millennials aren’t getting enough sleep? Yeah, you see where this is going. The article goes on to say:
Millennials are shaping up to be the most sleepless generation yet. While Generation X reports sleeping the fewest hours per night, millennials report the poorest habits: Nearly one-third of those between 18 and 33 say they can’t sleep because they are “thinking of all the things they need to do or did not get done,” and a similar number reports not sleeping at least eight hours a night because “they have too many things to do and not enough time.” Compare that to only 19 percent of Gen Xers and 13 percent of baby boomers. — Newsweek
TL;DR: millennials have a lot on their plates and it’s keeping them up at night — either because they’re worrying about the things they need to do or because they’re doing the things they need to do.
But aside from being busy, why are so many young people still not getting enough sleep?
One possible reason: many millennials (myself included) grew up in a culture where sleep wasn’t cool. Saying you pulled an all-nighter or “I only got a few hours of sleep last night” was sort of a badge of honor — or at least more interesting than saying, “I went to bed early last night, got eight hours of sleep and feel very rested.”
The good news is times are changing, and over the past few years, and with increasingly momentum, sleep has been becoming cool again. Innovative sleep-enhancing products are consistently hitting the market and more and more people — including top executives and athletes — are talking about and taking pride in their sleep health in the same way that people talk about and take pride in their healthy eating habits or workout regimens.
Just like eating right or working out, becoming a better sleeper requires a desire to a make a change for the better in your life, some knowhow, practice, and, sometimes, the help of a handy device or two.