Notes on sleep

Sleep is important…way important…but we don’t as a culture place much emphasis on it.

There’s even a “macho” attitude that those who sleep the least are somehow better than the rest of the population.

Good theory. Poor reality.

The reality is sleep is so important to mental and physical health that sleep deprivation is the #1 favorite tool of torturers. Not only that but many “mental disorders” (depression, irritability, anxiety) are actually nothing more than symptoms of sleep deprivation.

If you’re not sleeping well, is there anything you can do about it?

The good news is yes. The even better news is simple things have a huge impact on how well you sleep.

#1. Take sleep seriously.  Make it a priority. It’s not something you “squeeze in.” It’s essential to life, health and happiness.

#2. Watch what you eat and drink in the evening. Obvious, but easy to overlook. Instead of consuming stimulating food and drink, there are all kinds of things (like lavender and camomile tea) that will help you wind down.  If you need more, try valerian root.

#3. Start winding down early.  If you’re not heading to sleep by 11 PM, many people get a “second wind” that keeps them up until 2 to 3 AM in the morning.

#4. Light keeps you awake. People vary in sensitivity to light, but basically light tells the body: wake up. Late night TV watching can be keep certain people up.

Also, is light streaming into your room at night? Ever notice how you can sometimes sleep late in a hotel and have no idea what time it is outside? That’s because of the thick, light-blocking curtains good hotels have.

#5. The body loves habit and is happy to create a sleep habit. If your hours are all over the place, it makes it impossible for your body to set a natural sleep cycle.

Bottom line:  We’re not machines. We need sleep to function best and you’ve got to finesse yourself to sleep, especially in our “modern” world which places little value on it and does all kinds of things to interfere with it.

Bonus: Sleeping between 7 AM and 9 AM is a great thing to do if you’re schedule permits. In Chinese medicine that’s kidney time and the kidney is the root of health.

– Ken McCarthy

P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.

If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.

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