The Essential Sleep

Ever get the sniffles, a headache that won’t go away, sore neck, having trouble focusing, a general malaise?

It must be Monday!

We all suffer from these things from time to time…particularly as the years start to stack up on us.  These happen to me more often today than yesterday that’s for sure.  But I am a young man in my prime at 54 so we can all agree that’s not the issue.  (Let’s just all agree on that and move on people.)

I like to say “whatever ails me can usually be cured with more sleep!”  Now that’s an exaggeration but I believe there is some truth in there somewhere.  Why just the other day I had most of those symptoms listed in the first paragraph and I went to lay down for just a few moments and was zonked out for two hours.  Woke up and dang near all those symptoms were gone.

Do you listen to what your body is telling you?

I try to be a good listener in life…but for some reason I’m not great at listening to what my body is trying to tell me sometimes.  I’m distracted by a world that offers endless volumes of interesting things to do, to read, to experience.  That’s part of the challenge of remaining “present”  in our lives… many distractions.  Who has time for sleep?

The Commodity of Time

In Greg Mckeown’s book on Essentialism  he makes a good case for making sleep a priority.   In a previous post I made the case for distinguishing between essential and non-essential activity.   Sleep falls under the category of essential activity my friends.   But you don’t have to take my word or Greg’s word word for it.

WebMD lists nine surprising reasons to sleep more. I won’t list them all but here are MY favorites:

Better Health – see my list of vanishing symptoms after a nap.

Better Mood – ever had a cranky spouse or significant other? Ever BEEN a cranky spouse or significant other?

Better Memory – I forget why I like this one.

Better Weight Control – This one is a little counter-intuitive.  One might think that lying around sleeping is more sloth-like than productive but it isn’t the case.  Burning the candle at both ends seems more productive….but time spent does not equal greater productivity necessarily.  And in addition to all the other reasons why the American population today is heftier than we were years ago I think this piece of the puzzle is under-appreciated. I know one of the reasons I struggle to sleep enough is the endless distraction of iPhone, News, Entertainment, Sports, Social Media, etc….most of which didn’t exist or was far less pervasive 20-30 years ago.

There are some tips and tricks available out there for improving in this area.  They aren’t that surprising but they can be tricky to execute.  You should take a look at them….

…and then maybe sleep on it.


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