Zzzzz …

Posted on July 16, 2013

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sleep-tight-and-sweet-dreamsWhen it comes to going to bed at a reasonable hour, I tend to score a big fat fail. I get sidetracked constantly, I find myself plotting and planning, dreaming and scheming, I get a second wind, I’m immersed in client work or some project or another … there’s a multitude of reasons. But I really am serious about changing this … hence putting it on paper now.  Tell the world your intentions and they become that little bit easier to commit to, right? Nothing beats a bit of accountability.

I even wrote a ghost blog piece for a client recently on the importance and value of sleep. I’ve also just finished listening to James Altucher’s book ‘Choose Yourself’. James is an American Hedge Fund Manager, entrepreneur and all round visionary and Choose Yourself is an inspiring romp into the idea that we, as individuals, are 100% responsible for creating our own inward success (personal happiness, health and wellness) and outward success (fulfilling work, personal reward, passions, relationships etc). It is entirely up to us to live the life of our dreams and to carve the career that ticks all our boxes. The guy has taken the tough route for much of his life, having lost millions on multiple occasions.  He says the most important thing, beyond anything else, is to sleep enough.

We have one body, one mind, one life and unless we give them adequate sleep, there’s no hope for the rest of our lives.

Closer to home, I said to Deon only this morning that things have gotta change with Tori’s late nights. It’s time to bed earlier, sleep more, keep the iPad, Mac, iPhone and whatever else out of the bedroom …

Lack of sleep is the universal solution to looking like crap, feeling like crap and functioning like crap. In fact, the only things we can’t live without, for any length of time, are oxygen, water and sleep. Drink and drugs for a week won’t kill you. Not exercising for a week won’t kill you. Even not eating for a week wouldn’t kill you (suggest not trying this though!) But forgo sleep for a week?  Yip, that will kill you!

Sleep is basically the main ingredient in the recipe for optimal health yet it rarely gets the attention it deserves. Our sleep habits tend to be random, incidental and haphazard rather than strategic or conscious. We ignore our bodies signals telling us to sleep more because there’s always stuff to do, people to see, places to go and deadlines to meet but ultimately, our bodies are far smarter than us … they will make us listen in one way or another via premature ageing, illness, stress, lack of productivity, moodiness, weight gain, a suppressed immune system, diminished performance and a whole host of other consequences …

In fact, regular lack of sleep is one of the quickest and most effective ways to destroy your health yet around 50% of us are apparently under-slept. Whilst we all have different sleep requirements, the average adult needs between six to eight hours per day. Of course, some manage on five, others need ten … I guess you just need to figure out what your body needs then do it a favour and honour that.

When you miss out on sleep, your body goes into ‘sleep debt’. Lose out on one night and you need to repay those hours the following night. Let the debt rock out of control though and your only option is to completely restock by taking a trip sans alarm clock … that is if burn out or illness hasn’t snapped you first.

The tips I gave in the aforementioned ghost post included the following:

  • Have one day per week where you don’t wake to an alarm
  • Keep a sleep diary for a month. Record the time you sleep along you’re your mood, energy levels and overall well-being. Before long, you’ll really identify patterns and individual needs.
  • Learn to listen to the signals your body gives you
  • Don’t eat late. If you have to eat, make it a small snack. Avoid caffeine at night too (note to self)
  • Create some non-negotiable sleep rules … weekday bed times for example.
  • And leave your Apple toys outside the bedroom …

So … from tonight, early to bed … earlier anyway … and if you too are guilty of burning the midnight oil, I suggest you do same.

Sleep tight and sweet dreams …

x

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