Can You Succeed at Sleep? Those Precious Zzzs May be Hard to Come By

When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep? If you’re like one-third of American adults, it probably wasn’t recently. Insufficient sleep is so prevalent — and damaging — that it’s been declared a public health epidemic. Too little sleep has been linked to an alarming number of health problems, memory impairment, and difficulty learning, among other issues. On the flip side, successful entrepreneurs (Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, for example) tout sufficient sleep as one of their secrets for success. Research shows that adequate sleep leads to more effective leadership, since sleep deprivation makes it difficult for us to reason, problem solve, organize, plan, and make decisions. It’s no surprise, then, that sleep has become the new status symbol, according to The New York Times. As such, it’s become big business; in fact, the global sleep aids market, which includes drugs and medical devices that help a person fall asleep, is expected to grow from $58.1 billion in 2014 to $80.8 billion in 2020.Scientists and product developers are studying the effects of air quality (fresh air may be beneficial), sound waves (helpful for deep sleep and memory), and mindfulness meditation (it works) on sleep, they’re manufacturing weighted blankets, developing goggles that aim to reset your body clock, and placing sleep pods in offices. While you may feel skeptical about all of the costly, sleep-related gadgets and gizmos flooding the market, the good news here is that in a society that often undervalues sleep, we’re finally recognizing that getting adequate sleep is necessary for optimal health, productivity, and well-being.