How would you like to become smarter, more creative, leaner, healthier and to have better social skills? And to achieve all of this by putting in less effort?
It’s not a joke. There is a way.
A large proportion of Westerners suffer from a certain deficiency that impedes creativity, judgement and their ability to solve complex problems. It can also contribute to weight gain and worse overall health. What’s more, this deficiency often leads to your friends finding you less fun to hang out with.
You may have already guessed where this is going. It’s one of today’s most underrated health issues.
Are You Deficient?
Are you deprived of this essential thing? It’s easy to diagnose:
- Do you use an alarm clock to get up on most mornings? You’re probably deprived.
- Do you tend to be irritable and cranky in the mornings? You’re probably deprived.
- Do you need coffee or something else to get you going most days? You may well be deprived.
The Importance of Sleep
I highly recommend watching the above TED talk by a scientist who studies sleep and the brain. The video was only recently released online and has shot up to over 650 000 views in a flash!
The take-home message there is that most people in the Western world get too little sleep, and that this has dramatic negative consequences. I for one am absolutely convinced that this is true.
As we find out in the talk, most people feel best when they average about 8 hours of sleep a night (this varies from person to person though!), but the actual average amount of hours slept is currently 6.5 hours, and even less is all too common.
Making sleep a priority is not a waste, as many would have you think: in fact it is quite the opposite. It’s an investment in your own intelligence, skill, health and wellbeing.
If you’re looking to take in new knowledge or learn a new task, sleep deprivation is devastating. Evidence suggests that it’s during sleep our brains get the chance to revisit and reinforce what we’ve learnt. If, for example, you’re a student who happens to have a late night out – then you might actually need a sleep-in, for the sake of your studies!
What You Can Do About It
Apart from setting aside more time, there are other tips for better sleep suggested in the talk:
- Keep your bedroom dark (and slightly cool)
- Reduce exposure to light during the last half hour before sleep. Turn off strong lamps. Don’t go into a “massively lit bathroom” to brush your teeth just before bedtime. Don’t sit at your computer that last half hour either (guilty of that one!).
- No coffee in the evening – in fact, preferably not even after lunch.
What You Stand to Gain
According to the talk, getting enough good sleep has the following advantages:
Less trouble with:
- Mood swings
- Unwanted bad habits such as drinking and smoking [and eating junk food, my note]
- Social skills
- Health [and weight, my note]
What’s Your Take on This?
Should you sleep more? Have you noticed any positive effects in your life from getting more sleep? Share in the comments.
How To Lose Weight: Stress less, sleep more (see for more tips on better sleep!)