Sleep Is Essential

With the seemingly endless todo lists most of us have, getting enough sleep can end up being pushed all the way to the bottom. Whilst staying up late and working provides a bit more time, it's rarely worth it in the long run. The potential risks of reduced sleep are numerous, including:
  • Impaired judgement.
  • Increased weight gain.
  • Higher risk of depression.
  • Worse skin.
  • Decrease in memory capability.
  • Reduced cognitive processes. 
  • Increase risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and more.
  • Reduced sex drive.
As should be clear from the above list, staying up late simply isn't worth it in terms of long term health, both physically and mentally. In fact, a Whitehall II study found that decreasing hours slept per night from seven to five (or less) almost doubled the overall risk of death

Of course, we all need different amounts of sleep, and are more productive at different times of the day. For example, I tend to go to bed early and wake up early, as I am more productive before work than after. My partner sleeps longer, so goes to bed at the same time and wakes up later. Finding the optimal amount required is easy, just spend a week or two going to bed early, and seeing when your body wakes you up in the morning. This will let you discover how long your body actually wants to sleep for, and the results may be surprising!

I personally found the affect of increased sleep on my mental state to be the most startling. My happiness improved, as did my productivity and motivation. The cause behind this is not waking up to a loud, abrasive alarm, and instead waking up when my body was ready. Whilst it's easy to claim to be too busy to live without an alarm, the increased motivation and work capability will more than make up for any lost time.

Happy sleeping!
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