Thriving or Surviving?
We are depriving ourselves of very powerful and precious sleep. A vast number of us are choosing sleep deprivation....on purpose! We’re choosing to stay awake longer and sleep less, whether it be for work or play. Our mornings are inevitably met with big time regret.
Our morning selves yell at us...all the way to the coffee pot, asking why! We promised ourselves we would go to bed early. And we promise ourselves again that TONIGHT we will do it! We WILL get more rest and we WILL get this sleep train back on track.
But night time comes, and after the 4th episode of Breaking Bad, it's 1:00 in the morning and you need to be up for work in 5 hours. The cycle continues. You are merely surviving when you really can be thriving.
To Thrive, Think Quality
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night. But just as important as the number of hours we sleep, is the quality of sleep we get. Just because we put the time in, doesn’t mean we’re reaping the benefits.
In his book, Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success, author Shawn Stevenson explains how research has shown that sleeping between the hours of 10:00 and 2:00 are the most beneficial hours of sleep for us. It's during this time that the most beneficial amount of restorative hormones are released. It’s these hormones that repair our bodies and our brains and cause us to wake up feeling refreshed and rested. This is why when you sleep 7 or more hours, but didn’t go to bed until 2:00am, you still wake up feeling groggy and unrested.
Hit the sack earlier, start increasing the quality of your sleep and just look at some of the benefits you can expect to start seeing.
Benefits of High Quality Sleep
- Better personal relationships (better spouse, partner, coworker)
- Boosted immune system (sick less)
- Increased mental awareness (smarter, safer).
- Increased rate of weight loss (healthier)
- Increased productivity (better employee, better business owner).
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke (healthier).
- Decreased inflammation (less pain)
- A longer life (ALIVE!)
Armed with this knowledge, why do we continue to choose sleep deprivation over living fuller and healthier lives? We're operating like addicts, in the sense that we want to quit...we want to stop the destructive pattern, but we just don’t!
My Addiction To Sleep Deprivation
For me, like many of you, my low quality sleep life began when I started having kids. Of course, I can’t honestly say that my sleep life was great before having children, but it's at that moment I can put my finger on the timeline and say, here, this is where my sleep deprivation began. 2 kids and 7 years later, my wife and I still had not recovered from the sleep deprivation that began years earlier. Fast forward a few years, with older kids, busy schedules and busy lives, the evenings were the only times that my wife and I really found to relax and connect. We claimed that time as sacredly ours...our time to unwind...our time to relax. Even though we were chronically sleep deprived by this point, we still chose to stay up late and watch our favorite shows, or the game we had recorded, then wake up early the next day to do it all over again. We didn’t put high quality sleep as our priority. We knew better, and we still didn’t do it. That has since all changed. We have recovered our sleep lives which has drastically improved our awake lives.
Whats Your Addiction?
Take a close hard look at your own life, your habits, your routines. Come up with an honest answer to this question. Whats the reason behind your addiction? You want to sleep better...you want to go to bed earlier...Why are we choosing to merely survive and not thrive when it comes to our sleep?