The Power of Sleep

For many years’ I slept for four hours a night because my view of sleep was that it was a wasteful activity. Sleeping toolong was something that robbed me of time and made my days shorter. I had so much to do and I have always been extremely passionate about my work.

My underlying thought was I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I pass on from this world. And, I have never experienced a poor night’s sleep. I climb into bed and I’m ‘out like a light’, in moments. For me, four hours of ‘rock solid’ sleep was enough.

Research over the past ten years is ever increasingly showing that seven to eight hours’ sleep a night is required to keep us as healthy as possible. In a landmark paper published in 2015 by Ding et al in PLOS Medicine on Traditional and Emerging Lifestyle Risk Behaviours of 231,048 Australians between 2006 and 2009, long sleep (over 9 hours a night)was found to be very unhealthy, where-as, short sleep (less than 5 hours a night) only had a minor effect on a persons’ health. People who are short sleepers the authors found, usually exercise daily, whereas long sleepers don’t have time to exercise usually.

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It has been found that during sleep the brain gets the opportunity to sort information from the day, file the good stuff, and dump the useless. It can also go through a process of getting rid of the build- up of toxins during our waking hours and as you sleep your cortisol pump slow down so you do not continue to secrete it at high levels.

Sleep is a de-stress time and cleansing time for your brain.

If I wake up and feel I have not had enough sleep, say 6 hours, I weigh myself and go back to bed for another 1 to 2 hours. On rising after the extra sleep, I always feel so refreshed and the scales show a weight loss of half to one kilogram. Cortisol production reduced, weight decreases… amazing!

It is suggested you work to average 7 hours sleep a night each week. Some nights a little less, some nights a little more maybe.

How much sleep did you get last night? Because, chances are, it wasn’t enough.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, almost half the people you’ll run into this week are suffering from some level of sleep deprivation. And among high earners, the numbers are even worse.

It’s because the more you earn, the more opportunities you have for doing fun, interesting, and important things, making lying down in a quiet room a relatively unappealing choice by comparison.

Ron Friedman, PhD says…

“It’s a mistake that a lot of successful people make when it comes to sleep. They view sleep as a wasteful luxury – something that eats away at time and makes a day shorter.

But that’s exactly the wrong perspective. Because sleep doesn’t cost time – it creates time.


For one thing, the quality of our sleep has a direct impact on the number of mistakes we make.

When we arrive at work sleep deprived, we have less bloodborne oxygen traveling to important areas of our brain, making it impossible to think straight. We have difficulty remembering names, maintaining our concentration, and making good decisions. Worst of all, we struggle differentiating between the urgent and important, leading us to invest our time in ways that don’t yield results.

Simply put, neglecting sleep leads to a longer workday.

Now, if all sleep did was prevent mistakes, that would be reason enough to make sleep a priority. But that’s not all. Because quality sleep also elevates our performance in a variety of surprising ways.

We now have stacks of journal articles showing that quality sleep enables us to learn faster, remember more, and make a better impression on clients and colleagues.

So, if you’re a high achiever, what’s the first step to getting more sleep?

Here’s one suggestion: Plan for sleep like you plan for a meeting.

When we reframe sleep as part of our workday (instead of something we do when work is over), it’s a lot easier to get to bed on time.

Remember, sleep isn’t something you selfishly do for yourself. It’s an investment in your future performance.”

For many years now I have been putting my sleep time down in my diary and it has become a joy.

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