The most important thing that you can do for your health is get a good night's rest. It’s the foundation for your energy, it gives you the willpower to stick to a diet, and it’s how you realize the gains from your workouts. The purpose of this article is to show you that prioritizing sleep will give you massive benefits and it is the right place to start if you want to improve your health. We’ll end with a challenge for you to give yourself 8 hours of sleep per night for 1 week. By the end of this I hope that you’ll see that prioritizing sleep is the highest leverage point of your life.
The Benefits Of Sleep
65% of Americans get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night that the World Health Organization and the National Sleep Foundation both concur is the average needed for adults. The difference between getting 5-6 hours and 7-8 hours of sleep is immense. Most of the restorative benefits of sleeping come at the last part of the night, where dreaming dominates and memories are consolidated. Here are some of the key findings from thousands of research papers published on sleep.
- You are rated as more attractive by strangers the morning after getting 8 hours of sleep compared to yourself after 5 hours of sleep despite the strangers being blind to the test conditions.
- You will lose more weight and less muscle on the same diet when you get 8 hours of sleep compared to only 5 hours of sleep
- You naturally eat fewer calories when you are fully rested compared to when you are sleep deprived.
- You retain 20-40% more from what you’ve learned regardless of your ability to concentrate after you have slept compared to people who stayed awake
- You will feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious the day after getting a full night's rest.
- Your immune system is supercharged and you get sick significantly less often when you get 8 hours of sleep.
- Your workouts are naturally more intense and you build more muscle when you get 8 hours of sleep
- You choose more important tasks at work and are faster at completing them after a full night sleep.
- A full night's rest makes you naturally more creative.
- Consistently sleeping is one of the best ways to prevent neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, getting into and dying from a car accident, dying from cardiovascular disease, and dying early for any reason (i.e. your all cause mortality decreases)
Start With Sleep To Improve Your Health
Sleep gives you the willpower to stick to your diet. Sleep gives you the gains from your workout plan. Sleep gives you the energy to be hyper-productive at work. Sleep is the foundation upon which you base the rest of your health.
Additionally, the life changes that you'll have to make to start giving yourself 8 hours of sleep opportunity per night will be similar to the changes you would have to make to start working out or following a diet. The difference is that you'll be going with your biology rather than controlling it or trying to fight it.
Test This For Yourself
For 1 week try giving yourself 8 hours of sleep opportunity per night. Note that this doesn't mean that you need to actually be asleep for 8 hours, just that you have the time set aside so you can sleep and you aren't watching TV or doing work. If you can't sleep assume that your body has all the sleep that it needs right now and enjoy the time to relax. At night, keep light exposure low (no screens), the temperature low, and do a relaxing activity like writing, reading a paper book, or listening to music. During the day, expose yourself to the full brightness of the sun as much as you can, limit caffeine and alcohol within 8 hours of sleep, and avoid napping if you aren't sleeping through the night.
What I Hope You’ll See From This
- You have more energy, can focus more, are happier, and feel healthier when you have a consistent and generous sleep schedule
- It’s hard to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Life gets in the way. People will judge you and ask that you stay up. And you’ll have to choose between going to bed on time and doing another activity.
- You have less time than you think you have right now. But with the limited time you have left you can actually get everything done that you want to because you’re fully present.
- You want to continue because you like yourself when you’re fully rested
- You have the power to make a positive change in your life.
As always thanks for getting better,