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sleepy rabbit

Hey, you. Yeah, you, the one reading this post instead of working.

You need sleep. Seven to eight hours. Really. More than exercise. More than your weekly review. More than World of Warcraft.

How many times have you read an article in some magazine about a Tony Robbins-obsessed CEO who claims to get up at 4 AM seven days a week so that they can hit the treadmill before their 8 am morning staff meeting?

Notice how it’s those same CEOs who embezzle the company’s retirement fund and flee to a remote tropical island?

In this country, sleep deprivation is synonymous with power and success. Winners don’t need sleep, right? Edison claimed to sleep 4 hours a night. He was also wildly unethical and electrocuted an elephant. Draw your own conclusions.

Real Men Eat Quiche, But They Don’t Sleep Past Six

It’s a machismo thing, people. We boast about lack of sleep as if that means we work harder or better than our sleep-happy peers. But there’s a big difference between getting away with less sleep and actually flourishing that way. Your body builds up a sleep deficit if you don’t give it what it needs. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is one of the nastiest forms of torture around.

Sleep does a whole host of things for you, including:

The only resolution I made for 2008 was to get more sleep, and only a few weeks into the year I’m already incredibly glad I made that decision.

Whether I’m working or watching TV or playing video games, when 11 pm rolls around, I quickly get myself ready for bed and hit the hay. At 7 am, I get up. Last year, I’d often be up until 1 am or later, finishing work on a podcast or just fiddling around on the Web. And I’d climb out of bed at 6 am or earlier to hit the gym or get a head start at the office.

What’s changed thanks to additional sleep? I’m just as productive, or unproductive, as I was before, and I feel so much better! No, really.

I have a cup of coffee in the morning and one with lunch, so instead of zigzagging between so-caffeinated-I-can’t-think-straight and nodding off, I stay on a fairly even keel throughout the day.

Sleep’s a beautiful thing, and a very productive way to spend your time.

Make Sleep Your Number One Priority

If adequate sleep isn’t #1 on your list, there’ll always be a project or diversion that deserves “just another twenty minutes.” Make it your prime directive and you’ll thank yourself every morning when climbing out of bed becomes a (more) pleasant experience, and every evening as you make it through the day with your sanity and composure intact.

You’ll find tasks easier to start, good habits easier to keep, and you’ll have to spend a lot less time fussing with your productivity system because your body won’t be resisting that trip to the gym or that weekly review.

Photo by jpockele

23 Comments

  • Jay

    gravatarJan 18, 2008
    6:20 pm

    Yeah, I have the hardest time sleeping … you really have to train yourself when you start working. I think working out in the morning before work helps a lot too, most people try to do it after work at 7:00 pm, then you end up pushing back when you eat. It’s not good to eat to late … so everyone try to work out before work, say 7:00, then you will have way more energy at work. Then go home right after work and eat, try not to eat after 7:00.

    Jay

  • Simanek

    gravatarJan 19, 2008
    8:50 am

    Agreed. I was commuting an hour each way to work and then working long hours on top of that and then trying to have a cocktail with my wife while still picking up my studies in PHP… You don’t go mad, but you aren’t happy OR healthy.

    Now I’ve been doing freelance/consultant work from home, getting plenty of sleep and working on a regular workout schedule. I feel great. That work-out in the morning is a bitch, but what Jay said is true, it doesn’t work any other way.

  • Coline

    gravatarJan 19, 2008
    11:07 am

    As an alcoholic, one way I stay sober is to get enough sleep. If I do not, I want to drink.

    Thank you for the article.

  • Duncan McKean

    gravatarJan 19, 2008
    4:29 pm

    …and once again I am reading LifeClever 00.30 local time when I really should be in sleepytide.

    Good article. I also heard that not enough sleep makes you fat. : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14884953/

  • Tabatha

    gravatarJan 19, 2008
    6:33 pm

    I feel terrible if I don’t get enough sleep. I can’t get anything done because I’m so grumpy and my mind is cluttered.

    There is also the problem of getting too much sleep. It’s way worse, in my opinion.

  • Jay

    gravatarJan 20, 2008
    11:22 pm

    I think you have to have look forward to the next day, when people don’t want to do something the next day (work or school) they stay up late because they don’t want the next day to start. Then the next day they don’t get enough sleep, are tried and then fulfilling the bad day they were going to have.

    Also, I can sleep next to someone, be it my girlfriend or whatever … I do better in my own bed. I never have enough room, is there something bigger than a king bed?

    Jay

  • Jacob

    gravatarJan 22, 2008
    3:22 pm

    Yay … so maybe more LifeClever posts? :D pwetty please? I’ll even start going to sleep earlier than 3am :D

  • robert

    gravatarJan 23, 2008
    8:05 am

    I agree with most of the posts. I always feel grumpy and sad if I had not enough sleep. but it’s also important to have a quite sleep without noise, bad dreams, etc.

    e.g. if I had a stressful day or somebody annoyed me at work (a client etc.) than I have problems to drop off myself. What I do is to drink a special tea to become quite and even more relaxed. this is a good method to sleep without any interruptions.

    Enough sleep is important as well, but if you can’t relax, 8 hours sleep will be nothing!

  • Phil B

    gravatarJan 23, 2008
    9:55 am

    Getting more sleep was my (one) Resolution this year too. With a 10-month-old baby it’s both difficult, but at the same time, essential.

  • Angela

    gravatarJan 23, 2008
    11:00 pm

    Oh my, you are my friend. What a wonderful piece.

    I think Jay hit the nail on the head…it’s hard to talk yourself into going to bed on time when you don’t feel like you have anything to look forward to. That and being a night person anyway makes it SO much harder to get in bed when you should (like I should be, right now!).

  • Richard

    gravatarJan 24, 2008
    2:28 am

    This is great stuff. I think I’m good at what I do but have suspected that, with more sleep, could be brilliant.

  • BigNerd

    gravatarJan 27, 2008
    5:29 pm

    Hey,

    Nice….

    entry..

    here….ZZZZzzzzz…..

  • Johnny Rocket

    gravatarFeb 2, 2008
    8:35 pm

    There’s a rule I like to follow.

    If you CAN sleep, you NEED sleep.

    See, the body cannot sleep too much. It is not physiologically possible, just as one cannot urinate to an excess.

    If you wake up in the morning to an alarm clock and feel like turning over back to sleep, rather than jumping out of bed, you have not slept enough.

    Keep doing this day after day, and you have built yourself up quite a sleep debt. It can take awhile to pay this off, but the choice to take care of the sleep debt is most worthwhile for your overall health. No matter what health problems you may have, the body itself does the healing, and a properly rested body heals much better.

    So remember, “if you CAN sleep, you NEED sleep”.

    I learned much of this from Dr. Douglas Graham, whose works can be found at http://foodnsport.com and http://vegsource.com/talk/raw

    Best regards.

  • azul

    gravatarFeb 4, 2008
    9:46 pm

    Yeah, this is what I’ve always neglected.. Even though I’ve kept hearing about this over and over again. SLEEP.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Nabeel

    gravatarFeb 11, 2008
    6:14 am

    There is a great saying, a scientific one, “Rest as much as you want, but you still need to sleep.” Scientist to this day don’t know why people sleep or need to sleep. The above is one of the unanswered question by science, yet. Just to let you know, the activity in the brain is the same, when sleeping, as when we are awake. It’s just a different kind of activity, a different kind of neurons.

    Nabeel http://nabeelzeeshan.blogspot.com

  • Brenda ABRICA

    gravatarFeb 18, 2008
    12:09 am

    I’m happy to know that I am not alone in this sleepless life of mine. I have also learned that I create the most interesting works after midnight. I do hate the fact that I get little sleep, and I am not able to function productively during the day. How do you balance that?

  • tommy

    gravatarMar 1, 2008
    3:44 am

    I sleep more than enough…what should i do?Most of the time,i get to bed late and then the next morning,i can’t wake up.Sometimes,I get on bed on 12pm sth.Still,I got up very late like 2 or 3pm afternoon.

  • meme

    gravatarNov 9, 2008
    4:38 pm

    Funny, I’m in bed by 10 pm every night, and don’t get up until 8-9 am the next morning, and yet, I still have problems. So maybe sleep isn’t the answer for everything.

  • jen brister

    gravatarNov 15, 2008
    7:26 pm

    Yes! Getting enough sleep is essential. I’m a massage therapist and you wouldn’t believe the problems that lack of sleep can cause. The discs in your back are filled with fluid which depletes throughout the day. The ONLY time the fluid refills is during sleep. Not during rest, dinner, x-box time or anything else.

  • Desiree

    gravatarApr 15, 2009
    7:41 pm

    I can’t fall asleep early for school the next morning for some reason??? I would lay in bed for hours with my eyes clothes but never be sleep…how do i get to sleep earlier or feel like im getting more sleep because i fall asleep at school so can someone please help me!!!!!! :-(

  • Josh Tam

    gravatarJun 20, 2009
    6:16 pm

    I believe sleep is really important, but I also believe that sleeping the right time is as important. Sleeping from 10pm-6am is better than sleeping from 5am-12pm (low quality sleep)

  • CrazyLady

    gravatarJul 11, 2009
    8:48 pm

    Those of you sleeping a lot and yet still not feeling rested, get yourself tested for sleep apnea. It’s not just about the quantity of sleep, it’s also about the quality. If you have sleep apnea, you are not getting real sleep.

  • eric

    gravatarMay 24, 2010
    11:59 am

    well i hav trouble not sleeping ,, i always sleep whats wrong wth me ??