Why We Need Sleep
Episode #1 of the course The science of sleep: learn how to improve your sleep by Somni
My name is Matt, and I’m the founder and CEO of Somni—a technology company focused on enabling users to develop healthy sleep habits. I started Somni because I once struggled with sleep and don’t want others to make the same mistake.
Over the next 10 days, I will guide you to understand what proper sleep looks like and provide you with information that will enable you to transform your life. I will provide you with actionable advice to improve your own sleep and help you create healthier sleep habits to live a more flourishing life!
Let’s take a look at some remarkable facts on sleep and why it’s so important:
● During certain stages of sleep, our brains are more active than while we are awake.
● Being awake for 22+ hours impairs our cognitive abilities the same way in which being legally drunk would.
● Alcohol puts you to sleep but destroys the quality of your sleep.
● People who sleep more earn more money on average.
● Poor sleep can lead to the creation of false memories in the hippocampus.
● Sleep deprivation costs the American economy more than $63 billion annually.
● “All-nighters” kill brain cells and lead to brain shrinkage.
● 20-minute naps are one of the best ways you can quickly improve your creativity and memory.
● Getting only six hours of sleep a night is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and obesity.
● Sleep deprivation and depression are tightly linked.
● Sleep loss increases our stress hormone, cortisol.
Neuroscience demonstrates that sleep improves cognitive performance, physical health, and emotional well-being. In fact, sleep is critical to our vitality and has an influence on almost every physiological process. A good night of sleep is a powerful health habit.
Let’s take a look at some ways sleep influences us:
Cognitive (Brain): Sleep benefits our abilities in learning and memory, decision-making, creative problem-solving, and thinking outside of the box. A rested brain allows you to be at your cognitive peak. Often seen as a time of inactivity, sleep is far from it. During various stages of sleep, many areas of the brain become highly active in working to prepare us for the day ahead.
Physical: Sleep is a biological necessity, helping to regulate the immune system, repair damaged tissue, and optimize our physical abilities. Many chronic diseases such as diabetes are intricately linked to sleep health. Getting good rest is one of the most powerful performance enhancers for your body’s well-being and physical ability.
Emotional: Emotional regulation and stress reduction also occur with sleep. Humans are a social species and rely on their ability to calmly and clearly communicate with others. Without sleep, it’s hard to develop the good relationships and emotional intelligence needed to succeed in life. Sleep sets the brain up for positive emotions; without sleep, we are more short-tempered, less happy, and easily frustrated.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep
1. Write down the one biggest thing preventing you from getting good sleep (e.g., stress, caffeine, bedroom, schedule, lifestyle, work, etc.). How can you change that?
2. Challenge yourself with the following questions:
a. Would you rather have 5-6 hours of high productivity and sharp thinking or 10-12 hours of low productivity?
b. What are your pre-existing beliefs around sleep? Where did they come from?
c. Do you respect sleep?
Tomorrow, we will help you find out if you are sleep-deprived.
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