According to the CDC, about 70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems. But behind this torment resides an opportunity to increase our quality of life, if we can change our relationship with sleep and stop treating it like a chore.

t is no major revelation to most people that adequate sleep improves well-being. One recent study of more than 30,000 U.K. residents found that people who increased their quantity of sleep over a four-year period got about the same happiness benefits as they would have from eight weeks of therapy, or from winning up to $280,000 in a lottery. Well-rested people are more social and have more positive emotional experiences with co-workers and romantic partners. 

So why don’t we sleep more? Physical conditions, poor sleep hygiene, work, stress, and young kids are all common barriers to proper sleep. Another barrier comes purely from within, however: what scholars call “bedtime procrastination,” when we simply put off going to bed because we are doing other things that seem more important at night (but that we regret when it’s time to get up). Researchers find this is very common, resulting in almost a third of adults getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night, on average; more than 40 percent say they sleep too little or have daytime tiredness during three to four days per week or more.

So what to do about it? Read about things to consider that can make the sleeping behaviors you neglect become better and easier—and give you greater happiness as a result.

Read more at The Atlantic.

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