Tuesday, January 17, 2012

American Insomnia

Yesterday Business Insider published an infographic showcasing the value of getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. The graphic broke down the adverse health affects for depriving your body of sleep - including obesity, increased risk of breast cancer and even death.

I don't think it comes as any surprise that it's healthier to get more rest, but I am not sure how feasible it is to maintain the recommended routine. On average, I get 6 - 6.5 hours of sleep nightly. While not a far cry from the daily recommendations, my weekly deficit lingers around 30 percent. It's not irresponsibility to blame - I work 50-60 hours with an hour commute, volunteer and play in a soccer league. Unless I entirely trim out any personal activities, there isn't a way to allocate more time to R&R. And this dilemma is widespread: Business Insider notes that 93 percent of Americans do not get enough sleep.

In chatting with my fellow 20-something cohorts, I find that I'm not alone in heading out the front door before 6 a.m. to face a 12-13 hour work day. We commiserate on the fact that the phrase "I'm too tired," is truly part of our Friday vernacular. But of course we're always reminded that we're lucky to have jobs...

I wouldn't categorize this posting as a complaint, but rather reflective on the reality of American careers. Americans pride ourselves on career - we live to work - but nearly our entire population is on the brink of submitting to life threatening illnesses in order to"get ahead." The recession is the only economy I've known, and I'm dying to know: is this grueling work pace a sign of a fledgling economy or is the American dream now better termed 'American insomnia'?

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