When we sleep more, we feel better, we look better and we perform better.
How does sleep help us?
We can pretty conclusively say that less than 7 hours of sleep will significantly reduce your performance and your results (physically, cognitively and emotionally). Lack of sleep substantially reduces cognitive performance, fat loss, learning, your long and short term memory, your ability to focus, your decision-making ability, your ability to control impulses and delay gratification etc etc etc. There’s a more complete list further down.
Studies show that missing sleep over an extended period (less than 6 hours for 2 weeks) has the same result as missing 2 nights in a row of total sleep deprivation in terms of cognitive performance.
Something to bear in mind is that the test subjects were subjectively unaware of the deficits. They didn’t feel like they were performing any worse. Only 1% of the population can function at 100% with less than 7 hours per night. And that’s most likely due to a genetic mutation. If you think you’re in that 1%, sleep more anyway because you’ll just wake up feeling 100%, earlier. If not, you’ll actually perform at your peak, instead of just kidding yourself that you are.
Sleep is a critical piece of the health triangle (the other two being nutrition and exercise). There’s a list below of some of the things sleep has a significant impact on.
Sleep has a significant impact on the following:
As you’re reading the list, place a mental “tick” next to each item that is important to you. Remember, often the improvement can be as “little” as 10%, and as big as 50%!
- Emotion Response
- Emotional Intelligence
- Interpersonal Functioning
- Stress Management Skills
- Impulse Control
- Behavioural Coping
- Self-Esteem & Self-Actualisation
If you’d like to improve in any or all of those areas, get between 7 and 8 hours sleep per night.
If you’re battling to get to sleep, consider taking up exercise. Even those with moderate or chronic insomnia had better sleep quality when they began exercising. The same for depression, anxiety and some other psychological disorders.
So whether you’re not sleeping enough because you think you’ll sleep when you’re dead (like I used to), or whether you battle with anxiety or insomnia that’s keeping you awake, starting an exercise routine is a critical piece of the solution!
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