Sleep is the mother of all rest, healing, peace of mind, and emotional stability. So many times, we have seen what happens with our tempers, the structure of our families, and the effectiveness of our jobs when we (or our loved ones) go without sleep. It’s detrimental, it’s starvation-oriented, and it’s decaying. We all need time to rest and be alone in a quiet, peaceful setting.
Cell Biology and Resurrection
1. First, Our Brains
Your brain is filled with cells which are continually eating and defecating. During sleep, your brain can regenerate these fluid pathways and clean out cellular waste and restore cells to their natural, original state.
If you have trouble thinking, studying, working, or problem-solving, there are incredibly high chances that you are not allowing yourself to have enough sleep. Remember that your brain needs to clean out this cellular waste and replace it with renewed cell activity. This can only happen after a good, long night’s sleep.
2. Then, Our Bodies
The same situation is true for your body. Your cells, organs, bloodstream, and electrolyte balance are all heavily dependent upon the rest and work they get done during your sleep hours, which only happens when you’re asleep, never when you’re awake.
If you think that resting all day will do the job, think again. To stay highly functional, your body needs both high activity and sleep, with moderate activity dispersed in between these two extremes.
3. Fat Gain is Rampant in People Who Don’t Sleep Enough
If you used to get a lot of sleep and be a lot skinnier, chances are the two things are related. Your body is not able to clean out old cells and old cellular waste when you don’t get enough sleep. This prevents proper nutrition uptake, which essentially starves your cells.
Both the clogging of waste and the nutrition starvation lead to massive ballooning of your body fat. Get more sleep and relax, knowing that your body is about to do a 180-degree turn on the fat accumulation.
The Sleep Bank (Credit and Debt, Included)
1. Your Specific Required Number of Hours
Everyone needs a different number of sleep hours every night, but we all need a specific minimum amount. Some of us need ten hours or more, and some of us feel bouncy and perky all day at only seven hours. You will need to determine your minimum requirements in this area and ALWAYS satisfy this requirement, each and every night.
“But, surely, I can just catch up on the weekend!” Not necessarily. Your family, friends, and projects will take up your time on the weekend. Slipping farther and farther behind is easy.
In any case, you will need an actively rested body throughout the week if you want to deliver high-quality results every single weekday. You can’t just go to work and force your way through your job. Willpower alone will only get you so far. It is not a renewable resource.
You will have to pay attention to your energy levels, document any strong fluctuations in your energy throughout your workday, and then notice if food, sunshine, fresh air, or horizontal rest work for you the next day. Try out only one thing at a time for a whole week, so that you can get a good read on the situation before making a long-term decision in the way you go about your work.
All of this experimentation is not only necessary, but the rewards pay off in large amounts, in the end. Imagine feeling good, amazingly strong, and “in your flow state” all day long, going home, spending quality and enjoyable time with your family, and then going to bed for a full night’s sleep. Imagine doing that. Every. Single. Day.
Wouldn’t that be worth the extra effort to determine your minimum hours of sleep needed and how you feel throughout the day with different resources in your corner?
2. The Sleep Debt You Accumulate
If you don’t get the minimum requirement of hours for your personal needs, you will accumulate a sleep debt. For example, if you have one less hour than your minimum sleep requirements, you will need to add an hour of sleep onto the next night.
An accumulation of sleep debt over time leads to needing to sleep long weekends, overall depression, loss of hope and optimism, and significant depletions in your creative thinking.
3. Planning with No Alarm Clock
If you would like to always have enough sleep without your alarm clock waking you up, then plan on going to bed in time to wake up with your minimum number of sleep hours filled before your alarm clock rings.
First, make sure that your sleep debt has been paid off. Spend all weekend exercising and sleeping in without any regard to the time.
Second, still set your alarm clock (for work, just in case) but go to bed in time to have enough sleep before your alarm goes off. This will ensure that you get your minimum requirement of sleep without interruption from your morning jingle.
Has Your Sleep Changed since You Got Older? “Take time to calm down before you turn out the lights. Turn off your electronic devices and TV an hour before bed. You can read a book, listen to music — whatever helps you unwind.” –WebMD, “Getting Better Sleep as You Get Older”
What I Learned in College (With and Without Sleep)
1. All-Nighters, Test Scores, and the Holy Promise of Straight A’s
If you’re in college, you need to plan on not just the amount of sleep you had before college, but extra rest (every night) because you’re in college.
Why is this? Your brain uses more cells and expels additional cellular waste in accomplishing massively complex tasks. It needs more sleep to deal with this. You will have to plan accordingly.
2. On a 100% Sleep Diet
If you want straight A’s, then sleep is far more beneficial than pulling an all-nighter. However, this is only true if you have studied the material in the first place.
Your brain can recall facts, figures, dates and complex reasoning 16 times better after a long night’s sleep. However, if you haven’t studied or tried to memorize any of these things yet, it will leave you falling flat on your face.
Save all-nighters for the tests you forgot to do any studying on and keep a daily and nightly schedule of consistent sleep for the rest of your studies (that’s most of your studies).
3. A Body at Rest Stays at Rest
Once you have established a proper sleep schedule for college which always makes you feel well-rested, well-slept, and never drained, don’t mess with it. Of course, you will sometimes have time for extra activities like sports, partying, or dates with your sweetheart.
However, sleep comes first. Above all else, sleep comes first. Only spend extra time on extra things when you have it. Sleep and studying always come before anything else.
At this time, your body will begin to relax in college life, rather than be stressed out by it, and you will find yourself enjoying your early twenties with great skill and appreciation.
Not Getting Enough Sun? “Get some sun. Make an effort to get outside in the sunlight each day. It’ll let your body know when it’s time to be awake, and when it’s not. But do wear sunscreen.” ~WebMD, “Keeping Your Body at Rest”
Sleep and the Adult Lifestyle
1. Career Choices and Snoozing
Picking a career and following a career are two very different things, as we all know. Sleep contributes to this because, back in college, we chose our major and our career often during times of extreme sleep deprivation and stress.
In addition to this, once we get to our careers, sleep can be so elusive and so complicated that we give up on it and try to pursue our career paths, anyway. This is a big mistake and here’s why:
Learning a new job and how to deal with your coworkers is complicated enough. Factor in reduced reasoning from lack of sleep and you start seeing office politics where there are none and believing in corporate takeovers when, in fact, everyone is at peace. Do yourself a favor…
2. Sexual Activity and Clarity
“I have a headache.” Often touted both seriously and jokingly by adults of both genders, the truth is that sex helps with both sleep and body regulation. A good orgasm can give you the type of sleep you’ve always wanted to sink into.
The truth is, sex and sleep go hand-in-hand together, and they restore each other in a continuously rising cycle. Be safe and hygienic and get lots of sleep. That’s your sex advice for today.
3. The Sleep (and Play) Filled Weekend
Young hotshots on the career path often overwork and under-sleep. This can be fixed. Just make sure that your weekend is not spent at the office but is filled with lots of extra sleep and a lot of play and rough-housing with your family and kids. What if working on the weekend cannot be avoided? If you have to go into the office, make a field trip for your family. Show them what you do, how you do it and bring everyone together in closer intimacy because the importance of your job is maintained, while also not excluding your spouse and children from being exposed to your particular skill set.
The weekend is for both rest AND recreation. Allow your body, soul, and mind to re-create themselves through play and fun and laughter and love. Allow your body to re-create itself through extra sleep and extreme nurturing and self-care.
Does Your Partner Have Sleep Problems? You can Fix This with Exercise. “Exercise daily for at least 20 minutes. Try to finish up at least 4 to 5 hours before you go to bed. It leads to better sleep.” –WebMD, “Good Sleep Habits”
My Family, My Life, and My Bed
1. Why I Got a Nanny (and I’m a Better Mother now)
New mothers and mothers of new babies are the most sleep-deprived demographic in the world. This can be fixed by hiring a nanny for daytime chores. A full-time, live-in nanny would be expensive, but she would be there for both day and nighttime matters.
If you can’t spring for a full-time nanny, you can still get one with excellent references by searching online in your local area. She can take on 2/3rds of your day, and you can be there for your child or children during the time of day when you feel the most active and interactive and you can be there for them at night, too.
By delegating time, energy, and tasks to someone else, you will be a better mother or father, you will be able to bring your A-Game to your childcare, and you will feel like playing with your kids all the time, instead of continually shushing them while you try to get a ten-minute nap on the windowsill.
2. My Kids, Exercise and Sleep
What about sleep for the kids? Children notoriously need more sleep than adults, and your pre-teen kids should go to bed at least four hours before you do. Teenagers can go to bed about an hour before you do, and grown kids will be living elsewhere, anyway. All bases are covered.
If your child has trouble sleeping, they may not be getting enough activity when they’re awake. Make sure that they’re involved with different sports, different physical activities, and lots of swimming and rock climbing, too. This will keep them exercised out and ready for bed come bedtime.
3. Quality Time over Quantity Time, Any Day
Does your sleep schedule make you feel like you’re not spending enough time with your kids? That’s okay, too.
In the world of your kids, quality time is always remembered over quantity time. A fun and good memory will last for several days, where a lifestyle of sitting around together all the time is something you will not remember.
Make sure that the time you DO spend with your kids is high-quality, fun, and memorable. Then, let go of all of your stress and fear about the amount of time involved.
Steps You Can Take to Dramatically Change Your Life
1. Bedtime (and Sleep Debt) without an Alarm Clock
So, you’d like to get started on this lifestyle? Plan your sleep BEFORE you plan your day. Put your night ABOVE your day in your list of priorities. This will be hard to do if you have a family or a demanding job, but it can be done effectively.
First, pay off your current sleep debt. Take your kids to the neighbors for a weekend and sleep it all off until you wake up feeling rested and restored. Only then should you sit down and determine your minimum hours of sleep. If, after you have had a full night of this, you still feel tired, go ahead and add another hour and try this until you are satisfied with your minimum daily requirement of sleep.
Second, plan to go to bed in time to get your minimum requirement every single night, without your alarm clock. By all means, still set your alarm clock because you don’t want to test this theory out before work. However, make sure the full number of hours have been satisfied by going to bed early enough to do this.
Third, plan on moving your lifestyle around this sleep schedule. Make sure you pick up supper, help your kids with their homework, and spend time loving your spouse before you relax for the evening. Plan on resting for the evening before your pre-ordained bedtime. Keep this up every single day, day after day, forever. Don’t compromise the ethics of your sleep and cellular rehabilitation.
2. Family in the Morning
Spend time with your family in the morning. This means that everyone gets up in time to eat breakfast together, chat about yesterday’s events, and get their gear in order before you all go on your separate days.
Why is this so important?
Evening activities often differ the most among families, and you may not all be spending time together in the evening. However, every morning can be consistent and communal, and this can be a useful element of stability before everyone’s day begins.
3. Husbands, Wives, Headaches, and Sex
If you don’t have the sex life or the sleep life you want, see if the other side of the sleep-sex equation will solve this problem.
In one direction, sex assists in sleeping. The physical exertion, the chemical reaction from the orgasm, and the emotional bonding and intimacy all eliminate stress, creates healthy tiredness, and produce massive serotonin effects. These have a considerable aid in sex.
In the other direction, sleep helps with sex, too! If one or both partners are exhausted after coming home from work, interest seems to have waned in the evening, or nobody feels like dressing up and being coy or intimate, sleep may be the answer.
Try making love in the morning, when both of you are rested, creative, excited, and intimate again. Keep a bottle of mouthwash on both nightstands, along with a wastepaper basket with a plastic bag in it right in front of the nightstand. That way, neither one of you has to get out of bed.
You can swish, spit, and go, all without having to climb out into the cold, change your energy by getting up, or feel uncomfortable with strange smells. Sleep is one of the best cure-alls for people who need to change their schedule around for sexual activity.
4. What About Naps? I Can Take a Nap When I Need to, Right?
Unfortunately, no. You can’t always plan on a nap when you need or want one, so don’t try to incorporate it into your daily schedule. Not everyone in your world will be able to accommodate this level of self-sufficiency and independence. You may need to stay loosely and lightly plugged into your network throughout the day. So, don’t bother thinking too carefully about how a nap in the middle of your day might work. Also, you never know when someone may come by your home or office who you’d actually want to meet.
Secondly, naps will screw up your sleep schedule. If you don’t feel tired when you go to bed, you’re not going to sleep. Then, you’ll either keep your partner up or get up and keep yourself awake for a few more hours, thus depleting your sleep schedule and having to start the whole process all over again.
Screwing up your sleep schedule is the primary reason why naps don’t work, but they also show disrespect for the time and sleep of your family, as well. If they’re ready for bed and you’re still wired tight, there can be disjointed energy between you in the home, instead of everyone essentially rising and resting at the same time. Keep your time in line with everyone else’s and watch all of you have a better life.
In Conclusion, remember that a good night’s sleep can cure most things in life. If things still seem slightly drab in the morning, give it another good night’s sleep, and see if that eliminates the problem. Many people find that rest and relaxation, while wonderful, cannot replace actual snoozing and dreaming by any stretch of the imagination. Plan your sleep, plan your night, and watch your days turn around dramatically for the better.