Sleep: Is sleep actually for loser?

If you snooze then you lose. This is a saying that is many times interpreted literally. We think that the day as much too short and the competition as much too high to allow for the indulgence of a full night sleep.

This is what the problem is: Sleep is not an indulgence. It is essential part of our physical and mental health. This is necessary for performing our best in daily activities. It is wrong to think that the true movers and shakers of the world are not the ones snoring in their beds, and that those who need their sleep are somehow the weak members of the herd.

We often see that those high-profile CEOs who routinely fit 20 hours of work into a day and historic super achievers such as Thomas Edison who is the great American inventor, who reportedly slept only 3-4 hours a night and considered sleep a “heritage from our cave days.” (Some see a direct link between Edison’s wakefulness to his legendary output. I say what more might he has been accomplished on a good night’s sleep?)

Image via Quickmeme

Of course, a lucky few are wired to get by on less sleep, but most of us cannot trim sleep from our lives without paying dearly for it. Sleep deprivation makes us sick, it can even make us fat, it can lead us to use potentially dangerous drugs to stay alert, it increases accidents both on the road and in our judgment, and it takes years off our lives. Still, we keep pretending that sleep is an optional thing. 

Experts say adults need 7-9 hours nightly but few of us are able to hit that mark. If you are missing out because you face problem in getting or staying asleep, don’t delay in seeking help from your doctor or a sleep specialist. But if you are missing out on sleep because you find it less importance than all the other things on your to-do list then it is the time to rethink your priorities. How do you measure success, and your feelings about sleep?

Ask yourself: When you push yourself to keep going though you fell tired or when you see others doing so, do you view it as a sign of excellence? If you sleep in, do you feel guilty or bad? Would admitting to your boss that you need to carve out more time for sleep feel like career suicide?

One must understand few things in their minds before considering sleep as an option:

Not all go-getters are short sleepers:

Be it  Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Matthew McConaughey  they are just a few of the high profile people who make no apology for needing and getting a full night sleep. Others have come to value sleep the tough grind. Arianna Huffington, for instance, got a painful wakeup call that changed her life when she fainted from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone. She now prioritizes rest and sleeping. She also promotes a “Thrive” campaign that urges professionals to “sleep their way to the top.”

We also work while we sleep:

Our brains do not get unplugged while we are sleeping. They keep working even when we are asleep. In fact, may be our brain does some of their best work.  Research suggests that we learn as we sleep. Actually, sleeping reinforces what we have learned. Sleeping brains are even capable of creative leaps, as anyone who has awakened to a new idea or a sudden solution to a problem can attest. Even Steve Allen who is the late author, entertainer and songwriter, considered himself as creative in his unconscious hours as he was awake – and that was fortunate because he found that his nature demanded a longer duration of sleep, which is up to 11 hours a night. This Could Be the Start of Something Big one of his most famous song, was in fact the product of a dream.

You’ll get more done in the long run:

 Sleeping can make us feel like we lost time, but it is actually setting you up for success. It builds and repairs tissue, restores energy, consolidates memory, improves mood, keeps hormones regulated, and allows you to be physically and mentally engaged in all the activities of your waking hours. A new research suggests that, a good night’s sleep even keeps your stem cells young. In short, sleep isn’t something only the less ambitious can afford; it’s something all of us, including those reaching for the brass ring, should cultivate. So, when you snooze then you actually win.

Sleep is an essential element in everyone's life.
Image via Healthline

Myths

Myth 1 – You can cope on less than five hours’ sleep

This is the myth that just would not go away. The Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously had a brief four hours a night. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also made similar claims, and swapping hours in bed for extra time in the office is not uncommon in tales of business or entrepreneurial success. Yet the researchers said the belief of the people that less than five hours sleep was healthy, was one of the most damaging myths to health.

There have been extensive evidence to show  that sleeping five hours or less consistently, increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences,” said by researchers. It can lead to various health problems like: cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, and shorter life expectancy. Rather, she suggests that everyone should aim for a consistent seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Myth 2 – Alcohol before bed boosts your sleep

The relaxing nightcap is a real myth, whether it is a glass of wine, a dram of whisky or a bottle of beer.”It may help you in falling asleep, but it drastically reduces the quality of your rest that night,” said the experts. Doing this may particularly disrupt your REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is important for memory and learning. So yes, by following this technique, you may get the sleep but some of the benefits of sleep are lost. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so you can even find yourself having to deal with a full bladder in the middle of the night too.

Myth 3 – Watching TV in bed helps you relax

If you have you ever thought “I need to wind down before bed, I’m going to watch some TV”. Then , the latest Brexit twists and turns on the BBC News at Ten might be bad for sleep.

Experts argue: “Often if we are watching the television it is the nightly news. It is actually something that is going to cause you insomnia or stress right before bed when we’re trying to power down and relax.” The different kinds of games like Game of Thrones, it’s hard to argue the Red Wedding was relaxing. The other issue with Television along with Smartphone and tablets is that they produce blue light, which can delay the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Myth 4 – If you’re struggling to sleep, stay in bed

If you have spent so long trying to nod off and you have managed to count all the sheep. So what should you do next? The answer to this is not to keep trying. We start to associate our sleeplessness in bed with insomnia. It does take the healthy sleeper about 15- 20 minutes to fall asleep, but it can take much longer time. For this, you need make sure to get out of bed, change the environment and do something that’s mindless.

Myth 5 – Hitting the snooze button

Is there someone who isn’t guilty of reaching for the snooze button on their phone, thinking that extra six minutes in bed is going to make all the difference? But the research team says that when the alarm goes off, we should just get up. Experts say that “Realise you will be a bit groggy but we need to understand that all of us are. But resist the temptation to snooze. As your body will go back to sleep, but it will be very light, low-quality sleep. Rather, the advice is to throw open the curtains and expose yourself to as much bright light as possible.

Image via Uratex

Research

To understand the people’s perception about sleep a research survey was conducted by me using the questionnaire method. The results of which are as follows:

  • 58% of the respondents think that may be they can cope on less than five hours sleep, 29 % think yes and 13 % think that be they cannot cope on less than five hours sleep.
  • 44% of the respondents think that sleep is for losers, 40% think may be and just 16% think that sleep is not for losers.
  • 47% of the respondents believe that may be the less you sleep the more you succeed, 43% think that yes and only 10% think that the less you sleep  does not mean the more you succeed.
  • 38% of the respondents think that maybe you should stay in bed even when struggling to sleep and 32% think you should not stay in bed even when struggling to sleep.
  • 72% of the respondents think that it is not ok to hit the snooze button, while 17% think may be while only 11% think that it is ok to hit the snooze button.

Outcome of research

It was observed that, most of the respondents think that may be they can cope on less than five hours sleep. Some of the respondents think that sleep is for losers. Few of the respondents believe that may be the less you sleep the more you succeed. Also nearly half of the respondents think that maybe you should stay in bed even when struggling to sleep.  Majority of the respondents think that it is not ok to hit the snooze button.

Conclusion

Sleeping is not something for losers. It is a need of the human being. After working in the day humans do need the need to rest and relax for some time. Thus, it is completely fine to press the snooze button and enjoy few extra hours of sleep.

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