Most people know that lack of sleep can cause a variety of serious consequences ranging from poor work performance to relationship troubles to increases in mortality rates. What most people do not know is whether their own lack of sleep is truly considered ‘sleep deprivation.’ And, if they are sleep deprived, to what degree is sleep deprivation affecting their lives.
An estimated 40% of Americans are chronically sleep deprived. In other words, 40% of Americans are not getting enough sleep to be fully alert, mentally sharp, creative and energetic throughout the day.
For some, a good night’s sleep does not become a priority until they understand how sleep deprivation can ultimately hurt their career, disrupt their family or create health problems. For others, simply becoming aware that they need more sleep at night will help them address and correct sleep issues.
One way to gain a better understanding of your sleep habits is by taking the “Zzz” test. The results will help you determine how sleep deprived you are. It’s easy. You’ll just need to circle the option that best describes your situation.
A. During boring meetings or class, I…
doodle or catch up on other work.
fight to keep my eyes open.
occasionally fall asleep.
B. My family or co-workers would describe me as…
patient and understanding.
occasionally tired and cranky.
the poster child for stress.
C. I nap…
never or almost never.
once in a while.
D. I can fall asleep…
only when I go to bed at night.
after a heavy meal or while watching TV.
E. When going to bed, I fall asleep…
after about 20 minutes.
after 5 or 10 minutes.
before my head hits the pillow.
after an hour or more.
F. In the morning, I…
wake up without an alarm.
use an alarm clock to get up.
hit the snooze button more than once.
G. Most nights I sleep…
at least 8 hours.
around 6 or 7 hours.
5 hours if I’m lucky.
H. After I wake in the morning…
I get up and start my day.
I stay in bed at least another hour.
I try to go back to sleep until my alarm goes off.
I. I wake up…
bright and early in the morning.
once a night to visit the bathroom.
a few times during the night.
J. On the weekends I…
wake up and go to bed at the same time as during the week.
stay up (and wake up) a little later.
sleep in at least a few hours.
K. Right before sleeping, I usually…
read or listen to soft music.
pay bills, exercise or watch the news.
lie in bed planning my next day.
L. My bedroom is…
my peaceful sanctuary.
fine except for traffic noise and streetlights.
like Grand Central Station at rush hour
M. When I go to bed with a back or muscle ache…
it’s usually better after sleeping.
it’s the same in the morning.
it’s worse after sleeping.
N. After going to bed, I…
sleep soundly in my usual position.
keep shifting to get comfortable.
find my arm has fallen asleep.
toss and turn all night.
O. I consider myself…
a nonsmoker and nondrinker.
a light to moderate smoker or drinker.
a regular smoker or drinker.
Once you have a final number, compare your sum to the four categories shown here, and you’ll be on your way to understanding just how sleep deprived you are. This is the first step along the road to getting much better night’s sleep.
15–20 Points: Sleep Savvy
You’ve developed good sleep habits. You’ve probably already realized that even six hours of quality sleep are better than eight hours of interrupted sleep. Energy and alertness are your reward.
21–30 Points: Sleepy
Unfortunately, you’re not getting the highest quality sleep. The good news is, you already have some good sleep habits to build on. You’ll be amazed at the benefits quality sleep brings to your mind and body. With quality sleep, your mind consolidates the day’s learning into memory, stimulates growth, repairs body tissue, even strengthens your immune system.
31–40 Points: Sleep Deprived
You’re like nearly 93 million other Americans: sleep deprived. You’re depriving your mind and body of the chance to reboot, producing serious daytime consequences in terms of learning, thinking, memory and performance. You need to make quality sleep a priority to improve your quality of life.
41–50 Points: Sleep Starved
Numbers in this range may be a sign of chronic sleep deprivation. If you feel you’re
seriously sleep deprived, you should consider consulting your doctor or a sleep specialist.
Wherever you fell on the “Zzz” test, clearly understanding your existing sleep state is important in helping you to identify what you’ll need to do in order to modify your sleep routine. Click here for 10 tips to Banish Sleep Deprivation and establish good sleep habits from today forward.
Now, go on and get some Z’s. And in a couple of months come back and take the “Zzz” Test again to see how much your sleep has improved.