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Revenge of the Lack of Sleep

Revenge of the Lack of Sleep

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That’s the mantra of the work-obsessed. You may feel like sleep is an area where you can cut corners, but not getting enough sleep is bad for your health and productivity.

Approximately 90% of people don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep that they need every night.[1] Like many aspects of healthy living, we tend to ignore what’s good for us until we notice negative side effects of unhealthy choices.

If you’re forgetful, tired in the middle of the day, or have trouble concentrating, you may be sleep deprived. It’s tempting to work longer hours to get more done, but the reality is that you won’t be able to maintain solid performance without rest. You’ll more likely notice a drop in your productivity as you sleep less.

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Sleep-walking through your life is dragging

Some people think they can make up for a night of poor sleep. Taking a nap the next day or sleeping in on weekends may make you feel like you’ve compensated for lost hours. If you’ve never had a health issue related to sleep deprivation, and you’ve been staying up late throughout high school and college, you might feel that this isn’t a big deal.

    Unfortunately, you can’t just make up for lost sleep. Your body does best when you’re on a regular sleep schedule. Depriving yourself of rest is not like a charge on your credit card that you can pay off later. After you’ve lost the sleep, you can’t pay off sleep-debt. Read more about Why You Can’t Pay off a Sleep Debt You’ve Accumulated Over the Week.

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    Some people say that they can get by on 6 hours or less per night. They may be more tired than they realize. Just because you’re present and conscious doesn’t mean that you’re in top condition.

      A study published on Brain and Behavior shows that our bodies sleep more efficiently if they have to, but our brains won’t be able to achieve peak performance.[2] In fact, the brain of a person who sleeps less than 6 hours per night behaves like they’ve had a few drinks.[3] Clearly, you won’t be able to do your best work if you aren’t well-rested.

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      You’re not yourself when you’re sleep deprived

      Only a well-rested mind has the chance to be healthy and productive.

      • Being tired makes you stubborn. Nothing makes you quite as bull-headed as wanting to take a nap. Even the most agreeable people become stubborn when they’re tired. Change requires energy, so naturally a sleep deprived person will be set in their ways.
      • Forget about being creative. When you haven’t rested, you have to work extra hard to do basic tasks. With rest, you can come up with new ways to solve problems.
      • You won’t feel motivated. Not only does your brain become less efficient after one night of poor sleep, but your drive to work also decreases.[4] Even the easiest tasks seem challenging when you’re tired.
      • Waiting around seems impossible. Patience goes out the window when you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re already tired, you may become impatient with anyone or anything that requires more effort or energy.

        Find out more about how sleep is closely related to productivity here in this article:  8 Secrets About Sleep And Productivity I Wish I Knew Earlier

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        Break the sleep-deprived cycle

        There’s still a lot that we don’t understand about sleep, but we know that our brains need it to function well. Just like your body needs to recharge after physical effort, your brain also needs real breaks to restore your energy.

        Your mind has to rest in order to solve problems. If you focus on an issue for too long, you get tunnel vision. Allow yourself to enter diffused thinking mode, in which your brain works on the problem while you are doing other things. When you’re struggling, taking a break or sleeping on the problem is the best thing to do. Take a look at this article to find out Why Sleeping on a Difficult Problem Helps You Get the Answer.

        Inspired to set yourself up for sleep success? Try Lifehack’s CEO daily routine: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

        Being sleep deprived may not seem bad on the surface, but it can cause a lot of health and productivity problems for you. You can’t be the best version of yourself without rest.

        Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

        Reference

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        Jolie Choi

        Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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        Last Updated on July 14, 2020

        How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally

        How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally

        Why do we need sleep so much? Deep sleep is a blissful state of consciousness and our best beauty treatment. Can we learn how to get deep sleep? Of course!

        Many of us have problems of getting quality sleep because of various reasons. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia[1]. Millions of people around the world suffer from insomnia.

        Ultimately, deep sleep plays a crucial role for the quality of life we live.

        From a biological perspective, a good night’s sleep is important for building a stronger immune system against infections, heart disease, and numerous of other illnesses. It rids our body of exhaustion and pain, frees our mind from any sorrow or worry, and may even prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s[2].

        The Wisdom of Deep Sleep

        If you’re wondering how to get deep sleep naturally, keep reading. Sleep is a mental phenomenon. Its subtlety and complexity, especially when it comes to deep sleep, is of a spiritual, metaphysical nature; however, it is impacted by various external factors.

        These factors are the physiological and psycho-social aspects of our life that play a main role in sleep disorders. By not exploring the nature of deep sleep and neglecting the physiological and psycho-social aspects of our life, we can create negative habits that cause a vicious cycle that leads to poor sleep.

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        Deep sleep is explored and practiced in one of the most concise and most important texts of Indian philosophy, the Mandukya Upanishad. The wisdom in this mystic text is quite compressed and might be ungraspable at the beginning, but it offers the answers on deep sleep and the other three levels of consciousness.

        I’ve been exploring this subject matter for over seven years and have discovered that, apart from the physiological and psycho-social prep work for going to sleep, a certain sense of spirituality and a recognition of the ego is necessary.

        What Stops Deep Sleep?

        The cause of sleeping disorders is most probably going to lead us to the fact of fragmenting the life of “one-self” in two entities:

        1. The social identity = me as individual (Ego)
        2. The external world = as not-me

        Deep sleep is determined by behavioral influences. If there is no disruption in the circadian rhythm (sleeping during night and being awake during the day) or environmental factors (quiet, dark, rather cool sleeping room), then the question arises: why do I have problems with my sleep? Is there any mental disharmony (dissatisfaction, anxiety, stress, or depression) within me, that prevents me from enjoying deep sleep? If you want to learn how to get deep sleep, it’s important to answer these questions first.

        To naturally transgress from the wakeful state of consciousness to the deep sleep state of consciousness, we need to develop a sleep ritual to ease us into deep sleep.

        How to Get Deep Sleep Naturally

        Try incorporating these five steps into your routine to prepare your body for deep sleep. By experimenting with each of these steps, you’ll find what does and doesn’t work for you and your consciousness.

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        1. Shower at the End of the Day

        This is a good way to calm down mentally and to feel comfortable and clean in your skin. If you have no possibility to take a shower, than wash your face and teeth properly. Enjoy this step and start slowly retreating from the day. Make this one of your last physical activities for the day.

        Express gratitude that you’re able to retreat peacefully, wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Stop talking, verbally as well as mentally.

        2. Shut Down the Mental Chatter

        Decide not to think about anything that concerns tomorrow, yesterday or today. Your highest priority is sleep.

        Your smartphone and the rest of the gadgets should be switched off, your kids should be tucked in, and everything should be set to hibernation mode. In case something happens and takes you out of this step, step 3 below is the technique to be applied.

        3. Soothing Exercises

        There are several relaxation techniques you can do to sooth your body before sleep. Stretch your spine by pulling up your arms above your head. Let your breathing lead the body movement in order to relieve tension in your muscles. Gently rotate your pelvis, making circles to the left then to the right. Do this for at least 3-5 minutes.

        For another 3-5 minutes, stretch your mandibular muscles by gently opening and closing the jaw. Massage your head, neck, and jaw muscles, gently circulating with your hands. This will relieve this whole area of tension and prepare your body to fall asleep easier and quicker. Again, let your breathing lead the movement of your hands.

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        4. Deep Breathing

        If you try nothing else before going to sleep, at least give this a go. Slow, controlled breathing can reduce your heart rate, lower stress hormones[3], and relax your muscles, all of which are essential in preparing your body for deep sleep.

        Simply pay attention to your breath and breath gently, slowly and deeply. Following the flow of your breath will break down the process of thinking.

        This conscious, deep breathing technique is the only natural way to stabilize your heart rate, your body temperature, and calm/cease your mental fluctuations. As a result, the nervous system soothes and stabilizes the production of hormones.

        All these factors take you more effectively and more efficiently to the so called N3 stage of NREM sleep:  deep sleep.

        5. Meditation

        Continuous, conscious deep breathing leads you automatically to a meditative state of mind in which all bodily functions are balanced and prepared to regenerate in sleep. Do the following meditation practice:

        Consciously generate thoughts about how your breathing pattern will take you from this wakeful state of consciousness to deep sleep in a peaceful way. Meditate on yourself as a pure being that has no form or name. This is quite abstract, but so is deep sleep. In the state of deep sleep, there is no body, no mind, and no experiencer. So, let your “self” be carried into deep sleep by not analyzing how it’s done.

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        When the state of deep sleep has transgressed to the state of wakefulness, the concept of the social identity acknowledges the experience of nothingness.

        Once you’ve gained expertise in this step, you will never have problems falling asleep, given that your circadian rhythm and environmental factors remain in tact.

        Final Thoughts

        Many people have their own specific sleep-ritual approach that involves physiological, psycho-social and spiritual aspects. The bottom line is that, if you want to know how to get deep sleep, you must find a way to silence your mind to the extent where no concepts, ideas, or beliefs can influence your wakeful state of consciousness.

        Take this sleep-ritual approach and allow yourself to put everything aside in order to effortlessly and carelessly transgress into deep sleep.

        Pay respect to the power of your intelligence that keeps your body healthy every single day, enabling you to enjoy the wonders of life, of which the biggest one is you.

        Let go of your dilemmas and look deep inside yourself, where the infinite silence of deep sleep resides.

        More Tips on How to Get Deep Sleep

        Featured photo credit: Gregory Pappas via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] American Sleep Association: Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
        [2] National Institute of Health: Sleep deprivation increases Alzheimer’s protein
        [3] Neurological Science: The role of deep breathing on stress

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