It’s 10 o’clock at night. Tomorrow is a very busy day. But you’re still awake, scrolling away on the phone. An hour passes, another hour, and one more. Now it’s past midnight, you have to be up in just six hours, but you find yourself snacking on food at one o’clock in the morning. Just one more video - oh, now it’s 3am. You start feeling a bit tired so you lie down. But then you can’t sleep, so you finally fall asleep at 4am. The alarm forces you out of bed just two hours later, and you’re sleep deprived for the day, yet again.


As ludicrous as it sounds, this is prevalent across our entire globe. A study from the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) concluded staggering results - 1 in 3 adults in the US don’t get enough sleep.

Since then, modern world phenomena such as stress, anxiety, late nights, caffeine consumption etc have inevitably augmented this number further, with the blatant disregard for sleep.


Although the majority of our population normally lives somewhat sleep deprived, the epidemic of insufficient sleep is still widespread amongst our planet. The mere ignorance for the vitality of adequate sleep and its benefits should surely be a red flag, but as it stands, nothing much has been done to ameliorate the situation. Forceful introductions of technological addictions, namely social media, have not helped either. Dominating the mind’s of today’s society, it’s no wonder why such a large proportion of our world suffers from lack of sleep.


Lack of sleep is a suffering, and it cannot be something taken so lightly. The book “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker discovers how paramount sleep truly is, and the detrimental effects of poor sleeping habits. First, there is a common misconception about the necessary hours of sleep required on average, which is outlined in the book. Most people don’t realise how many mental and physical problems sleeping less than 7-8 hours can cause.

This often engraves the idea that, in order to be awake at 6am the next day, you would need to be in bed by 10pm, leaving a gap for 8 hours of sleep. However, many have been quick to outline that “Hours in bed are not hours of sleep”, and that in the present-day, the average person is more likely to take more than 30-60 minutes to fall asleep. In that sense, a more realistic time to go to bed would be around 8-9pm if you were hoping to get a quality night.

The only issue is, this time is usually much later.


According to another study from the Sleeptember campaign, shocking results from the survey showed that the average night’s sleep lasts just 6 hours and 28 minutes, and that more than 50% of those adults surveyed admitted that the last thing they handle before going to bed is their computer or smartphone, and that this is the leading reason why they don’t get enough sleep.


But what could be so bad about computers or smartphones before bed? Well, all of these electronics emit large amounts of blue light. This light actually suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy at night. With too much exposure to blue light and inadequate melatonin production, doctors suggest to avoid using screens 1 to 2 hours before bed.

Caffeine is also another example of a culprit for keeping so many of us awake at night, outlined by neuroscientist Matthew Walker. It’s prevalent in coffee, energy drinks, and even foods such as chocolate and ice cream. Intake of this natural drug blocks adenosine receptors in your brain, keeping you awake and making sleep, that too of quality sleep, ever so more elusive.


But what are the effects of poor sleep quality? It’s worse than you can imagine. By perpetually getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep, you can expect abrupt increases in stress, mental health problems, deficits in your memory, cognitive function and mood disorders. The list goes on the less you sleep. A lack of sleep is even associated with medical conditions such as clinical depression, obesity (severe weight gain), heart attacks and more.


None of us wish to experience those dreaded side effects, but unfortunately we do. If we allow the value of sleep to perish, society will only crumble more, and this isn’t the way life was intended to be lived. So don't snooze this epidemic. It’s more than just a daily alarm...