A Good Night’s Sleep Makes for a Better Tomorrow

sleep Apr 07, 2020

But just how much is enough?

“Sleeping well won’t make you successful, but not sleeping enough will hold you back” James Clear

I earned the nickname Sleeping Beauty during the Tahoe Ragnar Trail Relay last summer. Ragnar is a long-distance team, overnight running relay that covers roughly 120 miles. Not a place you go to catch up on your sleep.

But I take my sleep very seriously, so the camping site we had set up to rest between loops was my sanctuary. I had packed a duffel bag twice my size with EVERYTHING I needed to catch some z’s (extra blankets and cushy mat included). The teasing commenced the second I pulled that behemoth out of the trunk, but I got the last laugh when they tossed and turned on their cots.

Sleep is a new buzzword in productivity, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Good riddance to burning the midnight oils to get it all done (that never seemed to work for me anyway).

Now if someone could tell us just how much sleep we need:

It’s Nine, not Eight or Seven

Make sure you get 7–8 hours of sleep each night. We all know those superhumans that can outperform on much less sleep, but the standard has always been seven to eight hours.

Could that standard be wrong? A study conducted in 2014 stated that a one hour increase in sleep increased wages by 16%. They drive this point home by saying that this increase in income is equivalent to the increased salary for another year spent in school.

Those are some excellent reasons to turn off Netflix.

But What about My Miracle Morning?

Another trend to getting the most out of your day is to wake up EARLY to work on you. How many of you stumble out of bed before the rest of the house to meditate, journal, or read as Hal Newport describes in his best selling book.

How are we supposed to get up before the sun and sleep for 9 hours each night? There aren’t enough hours in the day if we still want to live our lives. If you’re going to wake up at 5 am to get in your “me time” that would mean you would have to go to bed at 8 pm.

I’m lucky if my kids are in bed by 8 pm.

Deposits and Withdrawals

“I finally got 8 hours sleep. Took me four days, but WHATEVER.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could treat sleep like a bank account? Making deposits and withdrawals as needed. Sleep experts have coined the term “sleep debt,” which means your biological need to sleep that builds up while you are awake.

If our bodies worked like our checkbooks, we could make up for any sleep lost during the week by sleeping in on Saturday or Sunday. While that feels amazing, it throws off our internal clock and causes a Monday morning sleep hangover.

Let’s not jump to extremes here. Say yes to staying out late with your friends on Saturday. You have a little wiggle room (about an hour) to sleep in on Sunday. Plus, make time for a short nap in the afternoon. You will be READY for bed on Sunday night and not miss a beat on Monday.

I’m Owning that Giant Duffel

Go ahead and laugh. I take thinking about my sleep to extremes, but I’m not one of those superhumans who can get by on just 5 hours. So I will start aiming for 9 hours, keep on schedule during weekends and vacations and work outside my survival mode.

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