How many hours per night are you currently sleeping? Like, really, legit “sleeping” and not just laying down with thoughts racing or waking up every few hours and falling back to sleep. It’s such a critical part of our success in life, health and more – that it just needs to be said…so I am going to share some really important info that I’ve learned today.
Energy is something we all need and crave. We hope to find it in our coffee cups, our energy drinks, stimulants and more; and while these do help for a while…they also bring you down hard…like crashing down hard!
And that is just not fun to experience.
The first thing we need to understand about energy is that we aren’t meant to be running at full speed ahead all of the time. This type of thinking is what I have previously fought with (as a natural type”A” personality who likes to run and not stop until I crash and want to hide from the world) and had to readjust after years of breaking myself down again and again. We cannot maintain the constant “full out” energy speed and expect to live a healthy and fulfilling life. We need to respect the natural ebb and flow of our energy levels; and our family and friends will love us more for it! 😉
So let’s talk about the most important aspect of the downtime; sleep.
If you sleep more, you will achieve more. Sounds kind of crazy at first, right? Ya, I know but honestly it is totally on point! Our bodies require enough shut-eye every night in order to function at it’s best and to recharge after the busyness of each day. Do you know what else sleep is responsible for? Let me just tell you 😉
It helps in immune functioning, metabolism (just try to reach your goals and not sleep…it ain’t gonna happen!), memory, learning and many other vital bodily functions. Sleep is when our bodies work on repairing, healing, resting and growing. If we don’t get enough sleep, we are gradually wearing ourselves down and our ability to succeed in any way. Are you game to give it a go now?
Let’s start by finding out what is actually considered enough sleep. There is a huge difference in the amount of sleep you can get by on (something I hear many people say, “I only need 4 hours and I’m good to go”…) and the amount you actually need to function at your best. For 97% of us (6% of people have a gene that allows them to get enough rest on just 6 hours a night but this is very very very rare), we need more than just six hours of sleep per night. I know, I used to think, “I’m fine to get less sleep because I can still wake up and get everything done”, but I started to see and feel the effects of the lack of rest and decided I was tired of feeling tired. Better sleep and more sleep allows our bodies to function at higher levels of performance. And who doesn’t want to perform at higher levels, right??? You’ll not only work better and faster but you’ll also have a better attitude towards your daily tasks too.
The personal amount of rest for each of us differs but the research shows that the average adult requires at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to restore the energy it takes to handle the daily demands of life. How can we find out if we are getting the amount that our bodies need? The best way is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your days. If you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up in the morning until your regular bedtime hour. If you’re not, you’ll start to reach for that caffeine or sugar mid-morning or mid-afternoon…sometimes both.
So what happens if you don’t get enough sleep? Let’s cover some common issues that most people will suffer;
difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking clearly, forgetting things or not being able to remember. You might also notice that your ineffectiveness or inefficiencies at home or at work; and may blame these missteps on your busy schedule. The more sleep that you miss, the more pronounced these symptoms become over time.
Kind of scary, right?
Not getting enough sleep also makes us more moody and cranky and less able to deal with daily stresses. Personalities are affected and we can become more cranky and less patient (ever snap at your kids our spouse like I was doing and feel awful later?) Most people will not enjoy being around you as often due to becoming a difficult and crabby person. I know, I have been there. We tend to cut back on sleep in order to fit in more “things” in our lives. We are always running against deadlines, and our schedules are packed with more to-do’s than there are hours in the day. Unfortunately, lack of sleep also wears down our immunity and is responsible for more illnesses, viruses and diseases when these “cracks” in our systems allow us to be attacked by offenders that can be fought off when we are well rested.
So what happens when we do get enough sleep? We are happier people, we are much more fun to be around and our minds and bodies are repaired and functioning at higher levels. Think about how we drag when we are tired. Then think about how we feel when we are fully rested and can take on the day with vigor and enthusiasm. It’s actually something that attracts others to us. Happy, positive energy is something you cannot buy and is not easily attained when over-tired. Getting enough sleep helps us to live longer, to be more creative, to attain and achieve a healthy weight more easily, to feel less stressed and to help us avoid mistakes and accidents. If you are interested in diving deeper into this subject, check out “Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success” ~ by Shawn Stevenson.
Will you be adding more sleep time now that you know?