1:15AM, my friend/colleague leaving my apartment:
"Yeah, I'm heading out. You going to bed?"
"Nah, I've still got a few things I want to do."
"Why not sleep and get at them in the morning?"
"When I try to work late and I haven't covered everything, I do sloppy half-productive work and don't get anything done. And then sleep later or get less sleep. Both are bad, so why not just go to sleep now and get at it tomorrow?"
"Yeah, you're totally right, but I'm going to put some half-ass working hours in and do precisely what you described."
He shrugs. "Okay, see you on Monday."
Two hours later...
(Well, at least I got this blog post written)
Got a good question from a reader about sleep. One of my goals is to sleep less than 8 hours/night
Hello, and thanks for inviting your blog visitors to email you directly. I just came across your site today, and got some good reading out of your "top stories" list. What compelled me to write, though, was a trend I noticed on some of your "goals" posts: sleeping less than 8 hours per night.
It caught my attention, because at first glance it looks counter-intuitive. Yet I understand exactly what you mean.
Cut. Return to monologue later. Get to the askin':
How is it working out for you?
Along with exercise and nutrition, sleep is one of the primary determinants of your happiness and wellbeing. If you don't get good sleep, you will not only be tired, but also pessimistic, unmotivated, lazy or even depressed.
Research has shown that self control is a limited resource that is greatly diminished when you're exhausted. If you don't get good sleep, you are less likely to be productive and stick to your good habits (such as exercise). You are also more likely to do things that you know are bad for you (such as eating sweets).
Good REM sleep plays a critical role in the development of long term memories. If you're trying to learn anything at all, you better make sure you get enough high quality sleep.
Proper sleep is also essential for maintaining a robust immune system. If you want to be happy, healthy, smart and productive, you have must make sure you get good sleep.
Do you think that your physical health and emotional wellbeing can be considered in isolation? Think again. They both come from the same body, and they both require that you sleep well.