Ever had one of those mornings where your brain feels like it’s stuck in a vat of molasses? Meet Vicky, who experienced this first-hand after a night where it seemed the sandman totally skipped his house.
He woke up to his alarm clock flashing an accusatory 8:45 AM, almost as if it was personally offended by his oversleeping. Stumbling out of bed like a caffeine-deprived zombie, Vicky ended up wearing mismatched socks, not brushing his hair, and – he nearly brushed his teeth with shaving cream in his bleary state!
In a frantic rush, believing he was disastrously late for a meeting, Vicky dashed out. He was running all sorts of conversations in his head – what he would say if his boss said this, and what he would say if his boss said that. Then at one point he glanced at his mobile phone dreading the messages that were sure to be piling up, when the date caught his eye. He realized around halfway to the office – it was Saturday. He swears he heard the universe chuckle that day.
Turns out, when you skimp on sleep, you’re not just short-changing your pillow; you’re setting the stage for a comedy of errors. It’s like your brain decides to go on a little vacation, leaving you to fend for yourself in the most hilariously disastrous ways.
Only sometimes comedy can turn into tragedy… Did you know sleep deprivation causes more accidents on the road than drunken driving?! Did you also know people who are sleep-deprived simply don’t know they are sleep-deprived – until they quite literally pass out. The brain will actually take a micro nap – dozing off for a few seconds – and when you are driving at 100 kms/hour, a micro nap like this could mean fatality.
Sleep Deprivation is insidious and there is a silent pandemic sweeping across the planet. Millions suffer it in silence. Passing it off as normal.
When it clearly is not.
For millions of years, human beings as a species slept 9 to 11 hours each night. In 2024, most people in most big cities the world over clock in hardly 5-6 hours. This spells disaster for our bodies and minds. Evolution has no safety net to protect us from the hazards of being chronically sleep-deprived. If we don’t fix this – we are heading for disaster…
Sleep and Success
When we discuss success, we often highlight hard work, determination, grit and a dash of luck. Yet, lurking in the background, an essential yet often-overlooked ally plays a crucial role: Sleep. Sleep is a cornerstone of holistic success, vital for material, physical, emotional, and even spiritual well-being.
Imagine sleep as your body’s maintenance team, working through the night to repair cells, consolidate memories, and rejuvenate the brain. This nightly refresh is key for maintaining physical health, mental sharpness, emotional stability, and sparkling creativity.
In the rush of life these days, people sacrifice sleep almost as a badge of honour. But this is like trying to run a marathon with a sprained ankle – you won’t win. You can’t win. You won’t even finish the race. You have lost before you even started.
Consistent enough good quality sleep is your secret weapon, for being the best version of yourself. Sleep has a magical way of elevating everything. It’s an indispensable component of holistic success, offering a nurturing embrace for our well-being and the most natural form of rejuvenation to our body-mind system.
4 Big Reasons why People Don’t Sleep
Tech Overload: Our lives are intertwined with technology. The blue light from our devices is a major sleep disruptor, tricking our brains into thinking it’s still day. This constant exposure, especially before bedtime, significantly interferes with our natural sleep rhythms and the production of sleep-inducing melatonin.
Never-Ending Work Culture: The modern work environment often blurs the line between professional and personal time. With the rise of remote working, the pressure to be constantly available extends our working hours, encroaching upon the time our bodies need to rest and recuperate.
Stress and Anxiety: High-paced lifestyles lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety, making it harder to wind down at night. Worrying about various aspects of life keeps our minds active when we should be relaxing, posing a significant barrier to having proper sleep.
Lifestyle and Health Habits: In the rush of daily life, essential practices for good sleep are often neglected. Regular physical activity and a balanced diet are crucial, not just for sleep, but for overall wellbeing. These are frequently overlooked. Poor lifestyle choices directly impact the quality of our sleep, contributing to a range of sleep disturbances.
Sleep well, and you will be younger, sexier, have a dramatically improved immune system, and enjoy terrific clarity and focus. Human beings are the ONLY species on the planet that willingly postpone their sleep.
If you want to be better ar being you – make a choice now – Prioritise sleep.
6 Techniques to Improve your sleep – and consequently your life
Establish a Sleep Schedule: Humans are creatures of habit. Our bodies love a schedule. Consistency is key. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This regularity helps to set your body’s internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep. Listen to your body’s cues to find the best times for you. There will be a time each evening when you will feel really sleepy. You yawn and wish you were in bed. This is your sleep window. Your opportunity to get that perfect night’s sleep. Take it! Create the rest of your routine around it and you will be richly rewarded.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Wind down for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This could include activities like reading a book, taking a hot bath, practising gentle yoga, or listening to soothing music or ancient Sanskrit chanting. Avoid stimulating activities like watching TV or using electronic devices, as they make it harder to fall asleep.
Optimise Your Sleep Environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep. This involves ensuring a cool, quiet, and dark room. Consider using blackout curtains, air conditioners and air purifiers. A comfortable mattress and pillows support a restful night’s sleep. Plants like Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Snake Plant) and the Money plant are nocturnal oxygenators and should have a place of honour in your bedroom.
Mind Your Diet and Ensure You Exercise: Avoid heavy or large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they are known sleep disrupters. Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, but stop exercising 3 hours before bedtime.
Practice Meditation or Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as Sudarshan Kriya, Sahara Samadhi Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation (Yoga Nidra) can help calm your mind and reduce sleep-inhibiting stress and anxiety.
Ban the Alarm Clock: Waking up to the beep beep of your alarm each morning makes your blood pressure shoot up and floods your system with adrenaline and cortisol – the two big stress hormones. This will make you feel disoriented, grouchy, and on-the-edge all day. Even if your alarm sings the sweetest of melodies to you each morning, the brain still registers this as danger and yanks you out of sleep, flooding your system with a cocktail of chemicals that will ensure that a perfectly great day feels horrible. Wake up naturally. Stop using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. Instead, set it to beep to schedule your sleep time each night.
Implementing these techniques will lead to significant improvements in sleep quality, and consequently, in overall well-being and daily performance.
Can You Spot the Sleep Myths?
Eating cheese before bed causes nightmares.
Myth. There’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that cheese causes nightmares. However, eating a heavy meal just before bed can disrupt your sleep.
Adults need less sleep as they get older.
Myth. While sleep patterns may change with age, adults still need 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and functioning.
Alcohol helps you sleep better.
Myth. Although alcohol can make you drowsy and fall asleep faster, it actually disrupts the quality of your sleep and can lead to fragmented sleep. Sleep after alcohol can leave you feeling exhausted and groggy the next day. There is a big difference between great sleep and being sedated.
Exercising in the evening can disrupt your sleep.
Mostly Myth. While intense workouts right before bed can be stimulating, moderate exercise in the evening, like a brisk walk, can actually improve sleep quality for some people.
Watching TV in bed helps you relax and fall asleep.
BIG Myth. The blue light from screens can suppress melatonin production and keep your brain alert, making it harder to fall asleep. Get that TV out of your bedroom.
Snoring is mostly harmless.
Answer: Myth. While occasional snoring is usually harmless, persistent snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder.
Sleeping in on weekends can make up for a week of poor sleep.
Myth. While extra sleep on weekends can help relieve some sleep debt, it can’t fully make up for an entire week of poor sleep. Additionally, it can disrupt your natural sleep cycle, making it harder to wake up on Monday. This is called social jet lag.
It’s best to stay in bed and try to sleep even if you’re not tired.
Myth. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes in bed, it’s better to get up and do something relaxing in low light. Staying in bed while awake can lead to frustration and make it harder to fall asleep.
Sleep is important. Much more important than you could ever imagine. Surrendering to sleep is the easiest way to living the life of your (good) dreams.
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