When it comes to sleep there are typically two schools of thought:
One that says spending one-third of your life sleeping is a waste of your life.
There’s too much to do to be sleeping that much. The other says that sleep is an essential part of your life, a really important part that we often overlook.
Now I was raised with the latter view, that sleep was essential, and as I became more and more hungry to achieve my goals and my dreams and particularly after listening to a webinar that shared some research on sleep, I was converted to the former, the belief that it was a waste of time.
My pastor in my old church used to say that a lot of sleep was basically for the lazy and by a lot he meant more than about 6 hours. Then this webinar suggested you could create an extra day a week by sleeping less and I was sold. The research used said there were 3 groups; those that slept for six hours, those that slept for eight hours and those that slept for ten hours a night.
When asked those that slept for six hours a night said they were tired, those that slept for eight hours a night said they felt good, and those who slept for ten hours a night said they felt groggy and this was unsurprising. However, what was really surprising was the fact that they all slept for the same number of hours.
This research proposed that our response to sleep was dependent on the message that we were telling ourselves. What mattered was whether we believed that we were getting enough sleep or not, so I took that and ran with it and went from sleeping typically eight hours a night and sometimes more to sleeping about six to six and a half hours. I spent the next decade of my life very, very tired yet I still ran with this belief because I knew that I had so much that I wanted to do.
Until quite recently I still subscribed to that thinking but then I started to look at resilience or bouncebackability. Eventually, I got hold of material and research that was conducted that shed light on the fact that sleep is an exceptionally important part of our day and that it is not something to cut back on because cutting back on sleep costs us dearly.
Not only does it make us tired but cutting back on sleep actually lowers our performance and James Clear in The Science of Sleep article highlights this in. As you may know, I look at neurology and psychology and physiology as part of my training and coaching.
What has become clear in any literature that you study today on the impact that sleep has on the body is that we need to get at least seven hours.
So, in the article, he refers to three groups. In those three groups, some slept for four hours sleep, some slept for six hours and some slept for eight hours and they did that for two weeks straight. What was found was there were negative consequences for those who slept for less than eight hours over that two-week period.
Not sleeping enough is like not putting money into your bank account and then wanting to withdraw money and you don’t have an overdraft. So then you borrow a loan, therefore going into debt. And for those like me, under sleeping for a decade, like we didn’t pay back our debt so it accumulated over the years.
That’s right, sleep debt is cumulative, it builds over time. What was really key in this research was that those who didn’t get enough sleep didn’t notice the impact that a lack of sleep had on their performance but it had an impact on their performance.
People performed worse when they had four hours sleep as opposed to six hours sleep and what is really shocking is that those who slept for six hours a night over the two-week period had the same performance level as someone who had stayed awake for forty-eight hours!
So my question is; are you sleeping for success?
Less than seven hours sleep a night tells me no. We need at least seven because the cost of sleep deprivation is shocking. Although you may be thinking that you want to sleep less so you can do more to do more, the reality is sleeping less will make you do more but not in the productive sense. What you do isn’t likely to be done as well as if you had slept for the required amount of time.
Bear in mind we are all individuals so seven hours is the minimum recommendation but you may need more.
In the next blog, we will look at the quality of the sleep, as that is a whole other story but if you are at least getting the required amount of sleep then you are in better stead than if you are only getting four or six hours of sleep a night. Personally speaking, I can tell you that I feel so much better now I aim to get at least seven and a half hours sleep each night. I am more alert and I function much, much better. This positively impacts my relationship too.
Remember, success isn’t limited to our professional lives; it is in our personal lives and our relationships.
So, are you really sleeping for success?
Until next time, shine on and Shine Out!
Jasmine Mbye -Trainer, Coach & Speaker at Shine Out.
Specialising in women’s empowerment. Giving ambitious professional and entrepreneurial women the tools to excel.
A challenging childhood left Jasmine dysfunctional, dimming her light and blocking her own success. Embarking on a journey to free herself and become her best, along with developing her expertise, resulted in Jasmine creating the Shine Out Method.
Accelerating and supporting the journey of each woman to gain the clarity, confidence and resilience to achieve and sustain greater success as she desires and deserves. Taking you from blending in and stressing to standing out and shining.
Check out the Shine Out Journey.
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