In my 20s, I thought a good ‘sequel’ to Napoleon Hill’s famous book Think and Grow Rich would have been ‘Sleep and Grow Rich’ and it might have even sold more copies (the topics could have included ideas on passive income, long term real estate investing, ‘buy and hold’ stock market strategies, etc.). I know I would have bought such a book out of sheer curiosity on the title alone.
Yet, I find that most hard driving individuals, top executives, and successful entrepreneurs put sleep low on their own priority list. We have all heard productive people joke around that they will sleep when they are dead. While these same individuals usually have their diet, exercise, and fitness in order, they are missing an essential ingredient for optimum health and peak performance: enough REM Sleep.
The consequences of being sleep deprived are more than just feeling tired. The lack of sleep can lead to short term problems like not being as mentally effective when making decisions or trying to recall information, plus the risk of a car accident is much higher on days when you do not get enough sleep. The long term effects of chronic sleep deprivation include serious health risks such as heart attacks, stokes, diabetes, depression, increased blood pressure, increase inflammation, plus greatly reduced sex drive, and weight gain. In fact, a recent study suggested that just a single week of less than optimal sleep can produce hundreds of epigenetic changes in the regulation of proteins.
Although all the reason for sleep are not yet known (although energy conservation and memory formation clearly seem to be part of the equation), all mammals sleep, from napping cats to snoring bears. It is a vital part of the daily lifecycle and circadian rhythms. In fact, some older studies where participants agreed to not sleep for several days began to hallucinate, had symptoms that seemed to mimic mental illness, and were no longer thinking rationally after too many hours without sleep.
Like it or not, human beings are designed to sleep one third of every 24 hour cycle. It is never wise to try to cheat Mother Nature as it rarely works out. Instead, for optimum daily performance, get the best sleep you possibly can so you wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Today, I think a better title for a book on the topic might be ‘Sleep and Grow Healthy’. For optimum sleep, here are five quick tips:
- Have sleep routine. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning. When you deviate from your sleep pattern, your body is likely to produced increased amounts of stress hormone cortisol and this is not good for optimum health. Of course, it is nearly impossible to go to bed at the exact same time in the modern world every single day, but try to stick with a sleep schedule as best you can.
- Sleep in dark, quiet rooms whenever possible.
- Turn off cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics as the light and sound from these electronic devices actually reduce your ability to sleep.
- Purchase high quality mattresses and pillows for back and neck support as well improved comfort levels.
- Invest in high thread count sheets, plus excellent blankets and comforters to improve the sleep experience with attractive and highly functional bedding. Since you spend 1/3 of your life engaged in slumber, it just seems to make good sense to have an amazing and customized bed.