BY BETH ENGLISH
There was a time when I was desperate for sleep.
It was last night.
Even with everything I’ve learned about the importance of sleep, two nights ago I stayed up to watch the Academy Awards. I have no idea why. I had seen only one of the best picture nominees. (“The Post”—it was amazing.)
The TV is rarely on in our house anymore. We cut the cable cord four years ago and haven’t looked back. So, watching TV isn’t usually something that competes for my rest.
Once I got out of bed the morning after the Academy Awards, I felt pretty good. It was only after dinner that I started to drag. I found myself in bed at 8:30 p.m. with lights out at 9:15 p.m. All would have been well if that had been the end of the story.
As it turns out, my elderly neighbor needed help twice after I had gone to bed. The first time was at 9:45 p.m. The second time was at midnight. I honestly didn’t mind going over there. She has never called at that late hour before and she genuinely needed help. But it did make me recall all those nights with my children when sleep seemed like an unattainable dream.
I was aware of the importance of sleep in those early years with my children, but I was unaware of how dangerous chronic lack of sleep was to my 45-minute commute. A 2016 study by AAA found that missing one to two hours of sleep doubles your risk of a crash and missing two to three hours increases the crash risk by 400%.
When my son was a baby in the early 2000s, fewer people and media outlets were talking about the vital importance of sleep. Thankfully, that tide has turned.
A new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has found that Americans are sleeping more. While sleeping an average of 17 more minutes a night might not sound like a lot, consider this: It adds up to four full days of sleep per year.
According to researchers, the study points to a growing awareness of the importance of sleep as the main reason for the change. So, for those of you who are putting information out there about the need for a good night’s rest, thank you. You are making a difference.
Actually, all of our readers are making a difference. By producing the components and creating the mattresses, sheets and pillows that make sinking into bed at the end of the day a wonderful experience, you are helping people choose rest.
Thank you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Your work matters.