It’s become something to brag about; the less you’ve gotten, the more cool and hip you are. It has the similar bragging quality as the number of emails you receive in a day; the more you get, the more important you are.
I’m talking about sleep.
It’s like it’s the new proving ground; if you are getting 4-5 hours a night then you are definitely doing things right and if you are getting 7-8 hours a night then you’re lazy and you are certainly not going to be successful.
Arianna Huffington says, “We’re told…that sleeping less…[is] an express elevator to the top.”
I don’t know about you but I’ve gotten caught up in this and it’s making me tired.
Through a significant change in my career and education situations over the last year I have been sleeping 7-8 ½ hours a night pretty consistently. But that comes after four years of averaging 5 hours a night (weekends included). Frankly, it feels awesome and I am so grateful but I also feel guilty and terrified of “being found out.”
I don’t want my reputation as an incredibly hard worker and ambitious woman to be tarnished, but I also don’t want to go back to being tired all the time.
In an effort to reduce my guilt and allow myself to embrace this new lifestyle of sleeping the recommended number of hours for most people, I spent some time reading up on the topic of sleep and found some great pieces of information from some respected authors like King David, Arianna Huffington, Michael Hyatt, and Angela Thomas.
Michael Hyatt says, “Exercise, diet, and mental focus are all important, but they can’t make up for a lack of rest.” We can will ourselves to do a lot of things and our bodies will cooperate when forced to wake up at an unreasonably early hour, but as Angela Thomas says, sooner or later our bodies “will require payback.” Whether that’s through getting sick, giving us no choice but to rest, or through our conscious decisions to sleep in on the weekends and take naps.
Michael Hyatt says that not getting enough sleep causes a decrease in focus, creativity, resilience, generosity, and productivity. Arianna Huffington adds to this list negative impacts to our confidence, mood, and decision-making. She points out that lack of sleep was noted as factors in the Exxon Valdez spill, the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion, and the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear accidents.
All of this truly gives me pause and makes me think quite seriously about the amount of sleep that I really need and should be getting no matter what my circumstances are, but King David’s words are what bring peace and eliminate the guilt:
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2, ESV).