The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Americans are in the middle of a sleep loss epidemic. And if you’re on the “success” track, you’re probably one of the sleepless.
Pursuing success is great and there will be times when you’re grinding so hard that it seems like you don’t have time for your healthy habits.
Our healthy habits and routines though are foundational to ensuring that we not only get to the top but that we live our best lives on the way there. Our health is one of our basic needs and it’s the rare person who can function at their best on little sleep. Most likely, you’re not one of them.
Central to the Vurb Lifestyle is knowing who you and want to be and learning what routines, practices, and habits help you live and perform at your optimal. Because our habits are interconnected and things affect each other, ignoring one thing will affect the other, and without realizing it, you may be throwing off your focus later on when not getting enough sleep catches up to you.
Not only does sleep deprivation compromise our cognitive abilities in the now, but it also puts us at risk for dementia and causes premature aging. But those are “tomorrow” problems and although unattractive, it’s natural to want to, when we’re pursuing success, take the risk. Here’s the problem with that thinking; you may be forgetting that poor sleep or not getting enough can lead to real problems in the short term too.
Science is still collecting the evidence to support this but you and I who are practicing self-awareness–or just an adult with a brain–intuitively know that when we are tried, we have poor self-control. Translation: Less control over cravings, less impulse control overall so we’re more susceptible to anger and our decision-making abilities become compromised.
Knowing what we already know about the brain and that it’s being reshaped by our habits (all of our habits), do you have any doubt that sleep deprivation has damaging effects. The only thing we’re unsure of at this point is whether the effects on our brain are reversible and the questions we must ask ourselves is these:
- Are the risks worth whatever it is that we gain now?
- Can we come up with creative solutions to our time-crunch such as hiring a remote assistant (who can be very affordable)?
- How can we maximize our time by taking advantage of time-saving services like food delivery services, doing healthy multitasking such as reading while on the treadmill, and get more done during those windows of time when we’re most productive?
- What can we cut from our lives and calendar? Can we cut a few work hours every week to work half-day on Fridays, for example?
So, let’s work to sort out practical issues such as time management. There never will be more than 24 hours in a day, but some of the busiest people find a way to prioritize what matters to have healthy lives and relationships. Work to eliminate minor distractions so you can focus on work when you need to, and on life and play when that’s where you need to be. Work on those fears that are keeping you up at night.
Let’s make sleep a priority and a non-negotiable necessity.