Rage against the alarm clock

This article about exhaustion and sleep in the Chicago Tribune got me thinking about barriers to behavior change.

Who would have a problem with sleep?

But in a culture turbo-charged with things to do, where speed is important, hours of sleep kind of get in the way. Burnout is seen as a badge of honor. And as this article mentioned, seeking treatment for exhaustion can elicit eye rolls. People can be seen as lazy when they sleep more. Who wants to be seen as lazy?

The thing is, people really can be doing too much and sleeping too little. Burnout is not a good thing when people have things they want and need to do — it doesn’t deserve a Burnout Award, it’s counter-productive. Feeling exhausted can be a sign of mental illness and other diseases like cancer.

Compared to that, doesn’t it seem stupid to not seek what we need because people might think it’s lazy?

But attitudes like that are real barriers to behavior change. Cultural beliefs are barriers to behavior change. In order to help people feel free to get better, we should minimize these barriers in addition to advising people about actions they could take. Do research, do some digging into people’s concerns, into their outright fears. What is really getting in their way?

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