Do you prioritize your sleep? If you do, a 2018 study shows, you are in the company of few—about 10% of Americans, to be exact.
Too often, we treat sleep as lost time. However, when considering our health, performance, and attitude wholly depend on the returns we get from sleep, it should be a conscious act, not a fallback or last resort when we run out of steam. After all, the average person spends about one-third of their life asleep. Might as well get the most out of it!
We are continuing part two of our three-part series on self-development (mind, body, and spirit), discussing sleep and its impact on both our performance and our development. In this blog, I simply want to touch on the value of sleep. Think of value as the outputs or the returns from quality sleep. Future blogs will discuss the necessary inputs required to achieve optimal sleep.
Can you sleep on-demand?
There is a running joke in my family about my unique ability to sleep just about anywhere, in almost any position, and for no reason other than being still. To be truthful, it is not a unique ability at all. Ask any Marine, and he or she will tell you they have it as well. Marines, especially “grunts” (infantry Marines), are required to sleep and operate in the harshest conditions known to any American. No question. If you don’t believe me, ask one. Still don’t? Join.
For most, sleep is a learned behavior. Learning to sleep well takes practice, repetition, and discipline. If we want to improve our sleep quality, we need to be intentional about it. The good news is that we have no choice but to practice and repeat, so we might as well be intentional.
Quality sleep is a must!
The 2018 study mentioned in the beginning, was an assessment of American adults priorities comparing sleep to other aspects of daily living such as fitness/nutrition, work, social life, and hobbies/personal interests. Interestingly, only 10% ranked sleep as a priority while undeniably spending nearly a third of their life engaging in it. It is perhaps the most commonly performed activity on the planet! Why wouldn’t we want to get good at it?!
Why is sleep quality so important, anyway? Sleep makes me feel better. I am guessing it does you as well, but its importance goes way beyond just improving our mood. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit our muscle growth, heart, weight, mind, and more.
How much is enough?
The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, but their performance is likely affected. Research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don’t perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night.
How important is it?
Sleep might be the most important development we need in our life! In the next blog, I will share ten glaringly obvious reasons we should respect our sleep more. I get it. The struggle is real! But after you see the impact that sleep can have on your life and on the life of your family, you might want to, you know, sleep on it.
Today, I shared an introduction on sleep and why we should prioritize getting quality sleep. In the next blog, I’ll share ten reasons why we should prioritize quality sleep. Later, we will take a deeper look at how nutrition, exercise, and meditation can help us improve sleep quality. If this material is benefiting you, please let a comment and share your thoughts.
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