How much sleep do you actually need? The answer is, it varies. Some studies suggest that the average North American adult needs between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. But it really depends on the individual. Some need a lot, some just need less.
An easier test is this: if you need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, that means you are not waking up naturally, which means your sleep cycle isn’t in tune with your day. If you wake up Monday morning having had one hour of sleep less than you need, then you are in sleep deficit. If the same thing happens Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, by the time you get to Friday, you’re short five hours of sleep. Then, by trying to compensate by sleeping in on Saturday morning, you throw your rhythm even further off. (The best solution is to get up at the same time every day, and go to bed at the same time every night.)
Sleep deficit is another example of the gulf between how we perceive our actions and abilities within time, and what is actually going on. We are fighting battles with ourselves, physically, chemically, emotionally and intellectually, every second of the day.
By the way, there is a better solution to sleep deficit than merely going to bed earlier, and that’s to introduce higher quality sleep more quickly, through the proper use of downtime, including less usage of laptops, tablets and phones in late evening hours, since these give off too much stimulating light. There are some low light settings on more recent operating systems, but in general, staring at a light source cannot help but reverse the sleep-inducing effects of melatonin.
Bottom line, sleep is a matter of quality over quantity. The important thing to remember is that the stage is set long before your head hits the pillow. The evening hours are crucial for establishing the right chemical balance for great sleep to work its magic.
This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Plan for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you would like a copy, hop on over to my Books page. If you would like me to come and speak to your group, contact details are available on my Speaker page. Either way, you will win back time and money. It’s just practical common sense.
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