I worked with a man early in my life that worked a ton and slept 3-4 hours a night. I thought this was unreal, but I knew him well and had no reason to doubt him. The man fired on all cylinders at all time, but I learned, through my own poorly designed lack of sleep experiments, that he was an exception to the rule.
Go to Sleep
We have heard for most of our lives that around 7-8 hours of sleep is key. Less is obviously harmful, but what about more? It looks like the science is pointing almost exclusively to only sleep 7-8 hours a night. The effects have more of an effect than you may expect. The video here explains things in a much more clear way, so I won’t get into the scientific results as much as talking about strategies for sleeping.
I have a great deal of trouble sleeping. I always have. I have found some ways to overcome the issues, but it is still a struggle on a nightly basis. It is blatantly obvious when I am not getting enough sleep because my writing and my motivation suffers a great deal. The long term effects, the sleep bank that needs to be refilled, really become obvious in a relatively short amount of time.
You Can’t Bank Sleep
After long stints of not sleeping much more then 5-6 hours a night I start to run into some real mental breaks. This was fine early in life but as I get older, and have a kid to deal with, my energy is a precious resource that I simply can’t afford to go without. This is true for everyone. What happens when a long period of sleeplessness is a sort of “reboot”.
Have you ever got to the weekend and wanted to do nothing but sleep? Your body is telling you something. It is pushing you to play some catch up. Unfortunately, if you are going too long without sleep the science is still out on whether this “catch up” is helping restore some of the lost brain function.
As you sleep less, your brain suffers a great deal. This is going to have a huge impact on your work and school life. Add to that the fact that you are going to get moody and see huge swings in attitude for no real reason at all.
Patience is key to success. You need to be willing to roll with the punches. When you are sleep deprived – even when you don’t think you are – you aren’t able to roll with those punches like you used to. Things can get out of hand quickly.
Do yourself a favor. Watch this video. If you have trouble sleeping, follow these few simple rules.
- If you shower before bed, do so an hour or so before you are going to sleep. Showers can wake you up.
- Don’t eat sugar or have caffeine past 2 p.m.
- Turn off all the lights and electronics in your bedroom before you go to lay down.
- Don’t read or watch shows in bed.
- If you need white noise, set it before entering the room to sleep.
- Ensure that you give yourself some time to relax, preferably without electronics, 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to sleep.
- If you insist on watching shows or reading, do so in a room other than your bedroom. Laying on the couch and reading is a great idea.
- Brush your teeth and go through your nightly cleaning routine before you start to relax.
- As soon as you start to feel tired, go to bed.
Sleep is hard to get these days. We are busy and work can be stressful. Once you have the energy to deal with the issues that come at you each day, you will start to find that it is easier to sleep than you thought. You can only sleep if you are successful and you can only be successful if you sleep.
Image Source: Gizmodo