How to Stop Sacrificing Sleep and Get the Rest You Need
Many of us have a push-pull relationship with slumber. We like feeling rested—we just don’t always like going to bed. Nighttime is when the kids are asleep and things finally quiet down. We can watch a movie, read a book, work on our hobbies, or just relax. And the thought of giving up this personal time to go to bed can feel like a waste.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified that feeling by 100. “Sleep has taken a nosedive at this point,” says Lee Ritterband, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Adds W. Chris Winter, M.D., a neurologist in Charlottesville, Virginia and author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It, “We’re so smashed right now with stress and work, people long for time for themselves.”
Sure, we know that we’ll feel and work better if we get to bed early and are well-rested, but we still won't shift our schedule; and, too often, our sleep is sacrificed. Something has to give. The good news is that the decision of how much nightly sleep to get isn’t based on hard rules. Each of us has unique sleep needs, and, as such, it’s up to each of us to decide what works best for us. Here are four strategies that can help you figure out the best plan.