As we enter Year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are more stressed than ever. 1 in 4 employees say they are approaching burnout. Nearly half of American adults report they are frequently too anxious to fall asleep. High stress levels cause both fatigue and sleep problems. However, lack of sleep also makes us more vulnerable to stressors. Over time, stress and lack of sleep blend together in a vicious cycle.
The health costs of poor sleep are intense. People who sleep under 6 hours a night have a 13% higher mortality rate than those who sleep 7 hours or more. Poor sleep doubles a person’s chance of landing in a car accident. These health detriments bleed into our job performance as well; people who get 7-8 hours of sleep each night are 29% more productive than those who sleep less. Sleep is vital to our health, well-being, and focus, but 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough.
How can we invest in better sleep? A good place to start is the bed itself. As clinical psychologist Michael Breus observes, “what touches our skin appears to have a significant effect on our sleep experience… what we surround ourselves with during sleep is a big deal.” Details to consider include thread count, fabric, and even sheet color. 200-800 thread count sheets maximize durability and softness. Cotton is more breathable and comfortable on the body while synthetics trap heat. Finally, neutrals and deeper tones create a more relaxing bedtime environment. Look for creams, grays, or blues.
Another avenue to improving sleep is self-care. Self care doesn’t have to be expensive. 55% of Americans don’t use all their paid time off, but using a day for yourself can help you come back feeling energized. Working from home makes it harder to balance self-care.