Sleep and Your Health
When I was in high school, I was given the opportunity to undertake a one week “work experience” placement in a clothing factory. This entailed standing around all day and occasionally explaining to people that I was a high school student on work experience and that was why I wasn’t doing any work. In fact, I had to explain this fact roughly 500 times per day, or so it seemed.
Everyone in the factory was drained of energy and nobody ever smiled, except one woman. I asked her how she managed to stay so cheery despite the loud clanking machinery and the miserable faces of the underpaid workers, and she said that she always gets a full eight hours of sleep. This was apparently enough to transform anyone into Mary Poppins. I laughed it off at the time, but she could have been right.
If you are eating right, drinking enough, getting exercise, avoiding stress at work and even getting all your vitamins and using a scalp cleanser to make your hair extra shiny, yet you somehow still look like an extra from a zombie movie, a lack of sleep is almost certainly the culprit.
Is 6 hours of sleep enough?
Everybody loves a short cut. We all know side streets and alleyways that can get us around where we live or work faster than those stuck in the bustle of rush hour. We all have our social passwords stored so that we can open the app in moments, which is great for speed but not so great for knowing what any of your passwords are for anything when you need to use a desktop for access. And no one is preheating the oven. The food industry needs to let go of that dream.
Short cuts aren’t lazy. They are smart. There is actually a whole way of learning new things based around it, called the Pareto Principle. Feel free to look that up at your leisure. But when it comes to sleep? You can’t sleep faster. Unfortunately, it appears only 3% of the population can manage to function on six hours of sleep per night. For the other 97%, six hours is nowhere near enough.
8 hours is the golden ticket
Other than that one woman at the clothing factory, I don’t think I have ever met anyone else who can claim to sleep for a full eight hours per night. But, apparently, that is what we should all be aiming for. The science behind it is a bit annoying, because the stages of REM sleep where the body repairs itself physically and boosts itself mentally only appear to occur in deep ongoing sleep, so you really can’t cheat.
Stick to a schedule, get regular exercise and try not to worry about the next day while trying to fall asleep. Easy, right? Good luck!