New Sleep Recommendations Mean What?

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 10.10.36 PM

If you don't get on Facebook, congratulations. But if you do, then you've probably noticed in the last couple of days that the National Sleep Foundation is trending. And maybe this is also trending in national news, but I'm in grad school, and I don't read it if it's not on PubMed or Facebook.

Apparently, the National Sleep Foundation - the real experts on sleep after the Tooth Fairy and Boogeyman - updated their recommendations for how much we need to sleep. And let's be real, I saw this article on Facebook after midnight when I had to be up in less than seven hours. After all, what is life? And what is grad school? Lo siento, National Sleep Foundation, who say I need 7 - 9 hours of sleep.

You would think if they're going to update the sleep recommendations, they would at least be realistic. I scrolled through looking for confirmation that it really is healthy I run six or less hours and iced coffee. Alas, no. In fact, we need more sleep.

Come again?

Now I could go on a rant on what keeps us awake and how 7 - 9 hours is fantastical in a world where technology never powers off, but instead I'll admit we need more sleep (if you aren't a prude already who sleeps 7 - 9 hours). I mean, I once fell asleep in a four-person meeting while the person talking sat three feet away from me. (I still cringe that this happened. I'm so sorry, Dr. Rife.)

However, what I'd really like to focus on is something more exemplary: The creation of a new age category, Young Adults, aged 18-years-old to 25.

Hello, that's me. I am a young adult. That adjective is necessary. When is the last time I declared myself an adult on an official document without texting my mom, "What do I do? What health insurance carrier do we have? Are you doing my taxes for me this year, pretty please?" (Okay, sometimes I do my own taxes, but if my parents offer . . . ) And sure, we twenty-somethings may hold down jobs, pay our own rent, and even contribute to our 401(k)s - but does that make us adults? You could go pop out a child to make a point, but I argue that would make you less of an adult.

I never thought much on this until college when a professor asked the class to raise their hand if they considered themselves an adult. LOL. We're all 18+ and only one betch raised her hand. And I wanted to smack her hand down.

So why aren't we adults? The answer is not so concrete as mortgages and birth control.

Before 1900, the concept of adolescence didn't exist. (Wait, what?) But a hundred and fifteen laters we wouldn't dream of letting a 12-year-old go off and make their own way in the world.

Today we face a similar advent. Perhaps it's by our own invention - a capitalistic ploy to prey on millennial materialism before we're anchored down by wedding bands and baby carriages - or maybe it's more natural (though nothing's natural in a GMO society). Either way, the concept of young adulthood is settling down for a long night.

A slumber, you might say. We shouldn't wake it, at least for the next 7 - 9 hours.