It's not being lazy to make sleep a priority.
Lunch Hour Lesson #6
In our busy lives, it is no wonder that we get to the end of the day when work and dinner are over, and then stay up late because it is the only quiet time to catch up on emails or our Netflix list. Plus, even getting ready for bed can seem like another chore.
You know who is good at sleeping? Babies. They know how to make sleep a priority, and don’t feel guilty about it!
Eight to nine hours of sleep a night for adults needs to be a priority.
Try to think of it this way: the time at the end of the day that we use for other activities besides sleeping is not free. It’s like currency, and it is easy to overlook spending this time not sleeping because we won’t have to “pay” for the lack of sleep until the next day. And even then we overlook it because we can purchase more energy on credit with energy drinks and coffee. Eventually, we go into sleep debt, and some people live in this state perpetually.
It doesn’t help that in our society, unlike being in debt with real money, sleep debt is almost a bragging right. “Oh, I only got 3 hours of sleep last night but look, I’m still here at work being productive. Good for me.”
Sleeping, in our minds, is like being lazy, and staying awake is seen as being productive. This couldn’t be further from reality. I’d like to argue that sleeping is productive! More on why next week.
No shakes, supplements, or products to purchase.
Insomnia is a whole other issue – let me know if it’s a subject you’d like me to discuss in the future.
But first, why is not getting enough sleep so damaging?
- Sleep deprivation is comparable to being intoxicated: our reflex time decreases, even if it isn’t noticeable. It takes longer to complete tasks, and makes us overall less productive.
- Lack of sleep can increase cortisol, the stress hormone. Living with an increase in cortisol is an inflammatory state. Most chronic disease is now linked to inflammation.
- During sleep, the body is constantly being monitored for illness, broken down, and rebuilt while we sleep, so less sleep means longer healing times for injury and chronic conditions.
All of this is not meant to make you feel bad about the times when you really can’t sleep well, like when caring for a baby or occasionally pushing to complete a project on a deadline.
This information is to bring awareness that there are physical drawbacks of going into sleep debt. So when you want to watch three episodes of a favorite show, you just watch one, and then go get some rest, because you’re educated.
Next week I’ll talk about strategies you can implement to improve sleep quality and enhance the benefits of the sleep that you are able to get.
Schedule one or two weeknights in the coming week where you will get eight hours of sleep. Arrange your schedule to make this happen, and put it on your calendar. 🙂