Kristina Grabnickas Discusses the Importance of Zzzzzzzzzzzz's.

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Kristina Grabnickas is the Clinical Coordinator of the Student Health Center for the 2nd largest university in the US—the University of Central Florida. For a decade, she’s been teaching medical students the importance of proper rest, having developed a mandatory workshop for second-year students.

Her motto: “Sleep is as important as diet and exercise, only easier.” I had a great time, chatting with Kristina about America’s need for some Zzzzzzzzzzz’s.

Kristina, studies are showing that sleep deprivation is now rivaling obesity and smoking as our greatest public health crisis. What do you think is going on?!

A growing number of American workers are not getting enough sleep. Nearly 30% of American civilian workers reporting 6 or fewer hours of sleep per day—a level considered by sleep experts to be too short.

Short sleep duration (<7 hours per day) has been linked to adverse health outcomes including: cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, and anxiety, as well as safety issues like to drowsy driving.

Why are more Americans getting less sleep? Work demands are one factor. Shift work—any shift outside the normal daylight hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.—is linked to poorer sleep, circadian rhythm disturbances, and strains on family and social life.

In addition, we’re living in a 24/7 wired world. Technology allows us to keep going all day and all night. We’re having major FOMO (fear of missing out) and it’s impacting our rest time.

Finally, sleep deprivation is glamorized—including the saying, “You snooze, you lose.” Some people equate success with burnout and stress. But, part of my life’s mission is to change the conversation. Sleep isn’t optional; it’s integral to well-being.

To hear the full interview, click here.