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.
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):
Sleep keeps your heart healthy
It prevents your from packing on pounds
It lowers your odds of a car crash
It strengthens your immune system
It keeps your brain from frying
It fires up your sex life
It can prevent headaches
It keeps you in top form at the gym
It boosts your mood
Sleep increases your pain threshold
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.
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:
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
Make your bedroom as dark as possible
Put a hard stop of media consumption one hour before you go to sleep
Read from an physical book. Avoid tablets if possible
End with gratitude
And here's one more reason to make quality sleep a priority in your life: