Although Stein neglected Knight’s advice as a youth, now he advocates its adoption. He’s worried about the many people who are grouchy and anxious. He feels that more sleep will lead to a happier world. Stein’s two-minute segment, “Ben Stein Sleeps In,” is worth watching if you’ve ever felt sleep deprived.
Ben Stein’s commentary to millions of television viewers was music to my ears, since too often, people ignore the issue of fatigue and its relationship to productivity. In fact, as a society, the pressure to achieve, coupled with constant, multiple distractions, contributes to a condition of constant overwhelm. The result? Adults and adolescents go to sleep too late and allow too little time for rest or relaxation.
Statistics reveal the depth of the problem. For example, according the Center for Disease Control (2009), 50 to 70 million Americans live tired lives, with almost 70 percent reporting that they did not have enough sleep within the last month. In addition, the same study indicates that 30 to 50 million Americans report sleep disorders. As a productivity coach, I see the devastating effects of insomnia, inadequate sleep, and sleep apnea on people’s lives.
Whether I’m working with executives or students, the effects of fatigue are similar and all too evident. Clients are surprised at the degree of inefficiency they experience due to fatigue. As one of the Demons of Distraction, fatigue reduces attention, motivation, creativity, and diligence. If you are suffering from the effects of fatigue and living a tired life, take action. At least try to increase the amount of restful sleep for a week or two and enjoy the benefits.
Here are some hints from my upcoming book, Actions against Distractions: How to Save Your Scattered, Forgetful, and Disorganized Mind:
- Increase your awareness. Assess your sleep routines. Discover the ways in which inadequate sleep has an impact upon your performance at work or home.
- Engage in an attitude adjustment. Don’t ignore sleep difficulties. Understand that fatigue can trigger performance problems that will not be resolved without your conscious thought about possible causes and actions. View inadequate sleep and restlessness as serious barriers.
- Plan to improve. Set aside some time during which you can get more sleep and see if you experience a few days without the effects of living a tired life. If you try, but can’t resolve sleep problems, then consider seeking the counsel of a medical professional.
In the next blog entry, you’ll find tips to keep the Fatigue Demon from causing errors or inefficiencies due to inattention, thereby increasing productivity.