Why you need to sleep more
It’s past midnight. I’ve just finished listing eighty items for sale online. My eyes are tired. It’s pitch black outside and street is in a deep sleep.
For me, the day is just ending. It’ll be a quick brush of the hair and teeth before I officially call it a day.
While many advocate waking up at 4 or 5am simply because that’s what the ultra successful seem to be doing, it’s just simply not practical for me. I could probably survive on a few hours of sleep. But that comes at a detriment to my mood during the day, my ability to think straight and make logical decisions.
1 in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep
I work the equivalent of two full time jobs — one being a mom during daylight hours and the other brings in money for the rent. It’s hard work. Some days it doesn’t pay. Some days it does.
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep — this number is troubling. While a lot of us play overdraft to our sleep banks, sleep is one of those things that you can’t simply stock up during the weekends and then use in excess during the week.
Our brains do funny things when we doing get enough sleep. It starts off small like forgetfulness, weight gain, premature aging — all the things we don’t recognize until it’s beyond the saving point.
Prioritizing good sleep is self love
Arianna Huffington’s famous fall in the bathroom that sent her to the ER prompted her to reevaluate how she operated her day.
She thought she could do it all within 24 hours by cutting out the hours needed for sleep.
She was Wonder Woman in the eyes of everyone else but her sleep deprived human self rang the alarm bells and told her to stop. The way she was living was simply not sustainable. She was no self love and as a result almost lost herself.
When you decide to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours a day, you are actively prioritizing your needs above all else. It also forces you to think and eliminate the unnecessary from your life.
We spend a lot of time doing things that we don’t actually need to do — or in a very inefficient manner. When sleep becomes a priority, you also begin to see the things that we don’t actually need to do or can eliminate from our lives.
My inbox was a nightmare until I unsubscribe to over fifty email services. It’s now reduced the number of times I need to check my email to twice a day and time spent on it is now no longer than fifteen minutes. From this exercise, I gained about an extra hour and a half worth of sleep hours.
It doesn’t matter what time you wake up, as long as you get enough
Productivity tips and tricks only works if your environment and circumstances allows it for you.
Going to sleep by 9pm to wake up at 5am doesn’t work for me. On balance, I get more active hours (i.e. hours not spent trying to wake up) when I wake up at 7am with the baby.
I’m not a millionaire with enough money in the bank to be able to afford daycare.
I’m a stay at home mom hustling at night behind a computer screen. My circumstances doesn’t fit neatly into suggested box that popular productivity gurus try to convince me that I should do.
There’s a general emphasis on waking up early but not enough on getting a minimum of seven hours in dreamland. It’s rare that you’ll ever see a productivity hack article talk about how your cortisol levels increases when you’re sleep deprived.
Or how lack of sleep leads to an increase of the toxic protein beta-amyloid in your system because sleep is like a sewage relief process that clears out the Alzheimer linked toxin.
Your blood pressure will probably increase with lack of sleep. The importance of sleep shines during daylight savings where there is a 24% increase in heart attack the next day when the already sleep deprived is forced to loose an extra hour of sleep.
But we think ourselves as special and different — that we can do it all like Arianna Huffington — before her collapse in the bathroom.
It’s more than just your health affected when you don’t get enough sleep
Who you are as a person is also immensely impacted — your world view, your sense of self, your ability to regulate and feel your emotions and all the things that makes up who you are gets put on high alert in an already highly stressed out world.
Your judgement gets altered and you make decisions like a slightly drunk person.
“Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication. “
School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia A M Williamson
Not only do you feel perpetually tired, you just can’t seem to come up with any new ideas. If you’re in the creative field like design, writing or anything that requires some sort of original thought, your overall ability to think straight goes down hill with each additional Netflix episode past 1am.
In the start up life, pushing yourself over the limit will only work against you the long run. You can’t win a marathon by sprinting the whole way. At some point, you’ll either over tire yourself or injure your hamstrings.
Sleep more to make better decisions
Everything you do impacts on your future. It may the future in an hour, it may be the future in a few days, it may be a future a year or two down the road.
Whatever decisions you made will compound and increment over time. If you’re making bad decisions due to lack of sleep, those bad decisions will compound over time.
You’re not just paying interests to the sleep bank but also your future.