Making Your Sleep Count

By Sean Masters, Co-Founder and Director of Rehab

We all know that sleep is important. We hear countless times that as adults we should be getting between seven to nine hours of quality shuteye per night. Even though science doesn’t understand completely exactly why we sleep, few question its importance. Humanity generally accepts that sleep is important enough that we should spend a third of our lives doing it.

Yet despite this commonly held belief, too many of us are skipping sleep. This is unhealthy, unproductive and downright dangerous. 

 Vladislav Muslakov photo via Unsplash

Vladislav Muslakov photo via Unsplash

The amount of quality sleep you get each night, or within a twenty-four hour period, sets the tone for how you interact with everything else in your world, from work to family to recreation. Good sleep must be a priority to get the most out of all aspects of life.

The 11 Biggest Health Benefits of Sleep

(via Huffington Post):

  1. Sleep keeps your heart healthy

  2. It prevents your from packing on pounds

  3. It lowers your odds of a car crash

  4. It strengthens your immune system

  5. It keeps your brain from frying

  6. It fires up your sex life

  7. It can prevent headaches

  8. It keeps you in top form at the gym

  9. It boosts your mood

  10. Sleep increases your pain threshold

  11. It bolsters your relationships

Sleep vs. Risk

In the natural world, sleeping is dangerous. It’s a major self-preservation disadvantage. When you’re sleeping, you are literally defenseless. You’re letting your guard down, and as our cave-dwelling ancestors will tell you, that’s a great way to be eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger.

 Phil Botha photo via Unsplash

Phil Botha photo via Unsplash

Yet despite the inherent risk of sleep, we all do it. Why? Because it’s even more dangerous not to sleep. Put simply, sleep is so important that species all over the world risk their lives to do it.

Sleep vs. Success

Sleep hasn't always been synonymous with success. It’s one of the first things we sacrifice when we need more time to move the professional needle. Skipping sleep is seen a shortcut to packing more productivity in to your week, which equates to more days worked, which puts you ahead. Right?

Wrong. Today’s leading minds in business and science agree that better sleep actually boosts productivity. Speaking from my own experience, pretty much my entire twenties were spent with a 4:30AM wake up call. That would be fine had I also been going to bed early, but that was  rarely the case. The only time I got eight hours of sleep is when I literally crashed from complete and utter exhaustion. I’m sure many professionals can relate.

Check out this TED talk on sleep vs. success: 

Prioritizing Sleep

Challenge yourself for one week to get to bed nine hours before you need to get up the next morning. If you are a night owl this is going to feel weird (maybe even counterproductive). However, tasks that would take you five hours to complete late at night when you’re operating at 50% may only take two hours in the morning when you’re fresh, running at 100%.

Tips to Help You Get to Sleep

  1. Make your bedroom as dark as possible

  2. Put a hard stop of media consumption one hour before you go to sleep

  3. Read from an physical book. Avoid tablets if possible

  4. End with gratitude

And here's one more reason to make quality sleep a priority in your life: 

Nighty night!

-Sean Masters