Module 3: Lesson 1
Get More Sleep (10 min)

SUMMARY POINTS

> Sleep is the single most important activity that you can do for yourself
> Your body uses sleep to repair, recover and rebalance everything
> Simplify your life to make room for 7-8 hours of sleep every night

This is the most important thing you can do to help yourself.

Sleep is when your mind and body recover from all the energy spent during the day. Overnight, your internal organs and systems are all doing their part to repair, heal and strengthen everything. They are re-balancing things to get back to a normalized state. This includes recovering from all of the day’s stresses and the hormones it has released into your body.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t get the minimum 7-8 hours of sleep. This Gallup poll shows that 40 percent of us get less than 7 hours of sleep (26 percent get only 6 hours and 14 percent only get 5 hours or less). Each night with less than 7 hours of sleep compounds all sorts of issues.

We’ve all experienced what happens when we don’t get enough sleep.

We’re groggy, irritable, can’t think clearly, etc. Our performance really takes a hit at work. Sometimes, we’re nodding off at our desk or even worse, in our car commuting.

In fact, according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year there are about 100,000 vehicle crashes leading to 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries due to sleepiness or fatigue.

Beyond the obvious stuff, research has shown that not getting enough sleep for long periods can lead to more serious things like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

However, if you can manage to get at least 7 hours and ideally, 8 full hours of solid sleep, you’ll feel so much better, think more clearly, function more optimally, etc. Another Gallup poll shows that people who get 8 hours of sleep have higher well-being than those that do not.

No surprise. Sleep is good. We know this. It’s common sense.

The problem is that we have all this madness going on in our daily lives.

The mornings are always a rush to get out the door on time. Then, it’s crazy busy at work. And when we get home after work, there are other personal commitments, kids activities, preparing dinner, sorting mail, paying bills, etc.

It's time to... 

Simplify Your Life

Take a hard look at what you do in the evenings after work.

Are there any tasks or activities that aren’t benefiting you? If they are not adding value, improving health, productive or preparing you for the next day, stop it.

Here are some pointers to get you started:
> Cut back on the number of after work commitments and learn to say no.
> Don’t overschedule yourself or your kids with activities.
> Eliminate any daily or weekly events that aren’t truly worthwhile.
> Enroll in automatic or online bill payments and stop managing paper billing.
> Wean yourself off of meaningless social media in the evenings.
> Order-in healthy meals instead of cooking.
> Delegate and share evening chores among family.
> Hire outside help for picking up and watching kids after school.
> Develop a set evening routine with a hard cut-off time.

And finally, the one area that can bring the biggest gain in the evenings for all of us.

Cut Back On TV Time! (but don’t eliminate it completely)

From a recent Nielsen market research report, many of us “binge watch” TV for an average of 5 hours a day. Five hours a day! This includes live TV and DVR’ed episodes.

After a long, hard stressful day at work, it feels so good to just plop on the couch and passively take in some entertainment. It’s an easy, effortless and brainless way to unwind and decompress.

What we’re telling you is to change up your viewing habits and cut back the time, not eliminate it.

Instead of watching shows that trigger stressful emotions (you don’t need more cortisol in your life), watch shows that make you laugh, spark creativity, bring back nostalgia (old reruns), transport you to a relaxing world, etc.

Basically, any show that triggers your brain to release good endorphins is a good thing.

Then, instead of 5 hours, try watching just 2-3 hours for the first several weeks and slowly wean yourself down to 1-2 hours.

Try this plus any of the above pointers. What should result is at least 30 minutes of extra time in the evenings. Use that extra 30 minutes or more by going to bed earlier and getting more sleep.

Really give this an honest shot during the work week. You’ll be surprised at the changes you’ll feel.

This short video clip from Seeker (formerly D-News) highlights the main points and introduces some new research on how sleep cleans and flushes out toxins from your brain.

VIDEO: Why Your Brain Needs Sleep
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: Seeker

LENGTH: 3:05