New York is the city that never sleeps—and it really should.
In March, The Siena College Research Institute (SRCI) polled 802 random adults in New York City on their lifestyle habits. On Wednesday, they released their findings, and they paint a grim picture of life in the Big Apple.
More than half of the city’s residents only get six hours of sleep or less per night, with fewer than one in four getting the recommended eight hours.
The importance of this cannot be understated. There’s a growing body of research that shows that getting the full eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to your health, and not getting enough of it can cause you to gain weight, inhibit your brain’s ability to store memories, increase the risk of a number of diseases such as heart disease and arthritis, induce depression and anxiety, and shorten your lifespan.
Even if you’re really busy, as most New Yorkers are, there are plenty of things you can do to get a better night of shuteye. You can try clean sleeping, eating more seafood, or even something as simple as leaving the window open. (If none of that appeals to you, you needn’t worry: We’ve got 70 more simple tips on how to get your best sleep ever here.)
But the bad news doesn’t just end there. Because New Yorkers aren’t sleeping enough, they’re also feasting on coffee as a way to stay awake through the day. 62 percent of respondents said that they are drinking coffee regularly, and almost half of those said they use it to jumpstart their day. While coffee has its benefits, it’s important to remember that drinking too much of it can actually kill you. Not to mention, it can apparently even give you cancer. If you are addicted to your daily cup of Joe, combine forces, and try taking a coffee nap. Or go cold-turkey and try these 25-non coffee ways to boost your energy levels instead.
In other concerning statistics, 58 percent of respondents said they are checking their email, texts, or social media accountants within the first hour of waking up, which should be a concern, given the recent research on how our dependency on technology is destroying our interpersonal relationships and causing loneliness and depression.
“New Yorkers have fully integrated technology into their daily habits. A quarter of us check email, texts or social media immediately after waking up and an additional third within an hour of opening our eyes,” Don Levy, SCRI’s director, said in the study’s press release. “On their commute, a quarter text and nearly one in five surf the web. And it isn’t your imagination, virtually everyone is checking their email, texting or keeping up with social media throughout the day. Only ten percent of New Yorkers aren’t checking their digital footprint every day, and half of those are over sixty-five.”
Given recent studies on how tech addiction is affecting our inability to communicate with others, this need to constantly be buried in one’s phone is also probably the reason that only half of New Yorkers say they make time in their day to have a meal with family or friends, and only 60 percent reported doing something nice for someone every day, even though both are proven to be crucial to emotional wellbeing.
In what is perhaps the most surprising finding—given how crowded Equinox is on any given weeknight—only 29 percent of New Yorkers reported exercising for the recommended minimum of 30 minutes a day, and around a quarter said they never exercise at all. This is terrible, since exercise, too, is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being.
Finally, New Yorkers don’t live in the present either.
“Many of us spend a lot of our time thinking about and planning our to-do list,” Levy said. “Half of New Yorkers fill out that list every day and nearly two-thirds of those that commute spend time thinking about what they need to do today and about stuff going on in their life including their goals and problems.”
A quarter of respondents said that they never pray or meditate, which is also bad, given the the recent research on how these simply moves help sharpen your mind in old age.
All in all, these lifestyle habits are a recipe for an early grave, and something needs to change.
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