In the past three years a huge body of research has amassed around sleep and what happens when human beings don’t get enough of it. Even if you haven’t been clued into these developments, you probably already know that doctors recommend getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. But, who has time for that, right?
The more research that is done on this subject, the more psychologists find that we really just cannot afford to cut back on sleep (though, those of us who are busy usually do). When we don’t get those recommended 8 hours, our body and our mind suffer. They do not have enough time to recuperate and regenerate. Even if we wake up feeling fine, scientists say, damage is being done.
For those of us who are busy this is a particularly serious issue. We are prone to sleeping less, particularly when we work well into the evening hours because we fail to get things done during the day. What’s even worse is that sleeping less often becomes habitual. Psychologists call this collection of lost hours of sleep building up over time the sleep debt and consider it quite hazardous to our health. Think about it. When you miss two or three hours of sleep, you can easily make them up over a long weekend. When you continually miss 2 to 3 hours weekly and aren’t able to make them up, you end up with some 15 hours a month of sleep debt. That is 180 hours a year! It would take you over a week of straight sleeping to make up those hours.
My point tonight is that we cannot always get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night. It’s just not feasible. However, it is important to be mindful of the amount of time we sleep and the amount of time we should be sleeping. I’m not one to promote procrastination, as you all know, but sometimes you just have to sleep an extra hour. Trying to get everything on your to-do list done is important, but your health should always be your first priority.
This week get some rest. Getting those 8 hours of sleep might just help you do better on your midterms! Click here for a relaxing two minutes of procrastination.