8 months ago · lizzie · 0 comments
The power of sleep
We are all in a rush. We rush to work. We rush to get our kids to school. We rush to social outings. We are in a rush to grow up and so on. Life seems to be spent in a perpetual hurry. We have load of things on our to-do lists daily and in order to fit it all in, the one thing we usually sacrifice is sleep. We are all guilty of it from time to time, because it is the easiest part of out lives to give up, in order to get through our daily check lists and to feel as though we are succeeding in our pursuit of altruism and self-actualisation. But, of course this is at a huge cost to our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
There is a difference emotionally between you deciding to reduce your sleep and someone else (e.g. a snoring partner, a wakeful child, a noisy animal that wants to be fed at 5am every day) making that decision for you. When you are in control, there is less anger and bitterness associated with the sleep debt. Even a waking baby can drive parents to distraction – despite understanding that the baby is of course not deliberately trying to make them sleep deprived. You ability to cope with either situation is also dependent on how well you are able to catch up on sleep on other occasions and on you total sleep debt.
So how much sleep is enough?
On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours per night, however, you may function well on as little as 6 hours sleep, or may require 10 hours of sleep to be at the top of your game. Most people have a sense of how much sleep they need in order to feel alert and functioning at their best – the average being 8 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep Deprivation Effects
According to WebMD too little sleep may cause/influence:
- Memory problems
- Depression (e.g. postnatal depression)
- A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
- Increase in perception of pain
The accumulation of repeated sleep deprivation results in a sleep debt which is only temporarily masked by coffee. When you are really tired, that coffee hit won’t do the trick – you need to repay the sleep debt in order to be able to function at a suitable and safe level again. If you continue to push through your sleep deprivation, you can end up with depression, so it’s important to catch up on your sleep at the next available opportunity. Do whatever you can to regain your sleep. For example:
- take a quick nap with your child
- eat dinner an hour earlier to allow your food to digest & give you a better night’s sleep
- give yourself permission to have the night off & go to bed earlier
- ask someone to give you a hand so you can have a rest
- ask for an extension on a work project or class project so you can catch up on sleep
It’s a matter of planning and making sleep a priority. You know yourself better than anyone, so if you really are sleep deprived, make a commitment to clear your sleep debt and see how much more positive, clear and vibrant your life becomes.
Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac
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