The current research suggests that 7.5hrs to 9hrs is ideal for about 80% of the population. Some can get a way with less, and some need more.Far too many people put their hands up for less than 7hrs sleep and many of these have less than 6hrs sleep a night – consistently. You just cannot sustain optimal living on limited sleep.
The real cost
Many people ‘think’ they can function on less sleep, but may be unaware of the real consequences. For instance many may have less positive health, reduced resilience to illness, and slow recovery from sickness.
But one of the worst consequences, I suspect, is they are achieving less than they are capable of. I think if they had more sleep of a night-time they would be able to perform more effectively, efficiently and creatively. One of the many results of getting more shut-eye of a night-time.
Here are what I believe are some of the potential benefits from getting that 7.5hrs plus a night:
- Greater resilience to stress
- Greater mental clarity
- Greater productivity
- Greater creativity
- Quicker healing
- Higher energy levels
- Increased happiness
Your challengeI would like you – if you are a less than 7.5hrs a night kinda person – to put in the effort to get over 7.5hrs sleep a night. You may need to get creative. If you have young children, this might be nigh on impossible; but see what you can figure out. You might not realise just how much difference that extra hour or two makes to your performance and quality of life.
I often have people saying that if only I stepped into their shoes, I would understand how hard it is to achieve. I do not doubt that. All I am saying is to get creative and see if you can somehow make some changes to get more. Turn the TV off earlier. Prepare things in advance. Restructure your evening. See if you can start work later. Get some external help. Put the kids to bed earlier. Go back to using candles and kerosene lanterns. 😉
See what the extra sleep does to your performance. It might just allow you to step up to a whole new level.
The final word
One of the greatest tools for healing and optimizing our health is to rest more. Whether it is sleeping at night or taking nana naps through the day. Our body knows how to self-heal. It just needs the environment, which is conducive to it doing so. That environment is with your body in the horizontal position and your eyes closed.
In The Guidebook to Optimum Health, I go into more details on rest and there is a chapter by a great Sleep Coach on how to improve the quality of your sleep.
As always, you know the dealio. If you want a hand (or some perspective), you know how to get in touch with me. If you have any comments or insights you would like to share, head over to the Blog, or jump on my Facebook page to continue the dialogue (and pick my mind). Also check out The Happiness Class on iTunes for some FREE weekly Coaching.