Getting a good rest is one of the keys to living a healthy life. Modern lifestyles do not align with this in many ways, and the current trend is to shorten sleeping hours to make days more productive. Read on to find out how this phenomenon affects us, and what world leaders do about it.
Consequences of a sleepless life
Choosing to ignore the cycle of daily life that dictates we should be horizontal one-third of our lives is common these days. We all have our jobs, our social life (including all forms of social media) and projects flying around. Whether it's your inner entrepreneur or your internal partygoer, the result is a dismissal of the necessary sleeping hours to make our days longer, and fit all the activities we can get in.
But the human design isn’t for 20-hour days; our machinery needs sleeping hours to recover for more working time the next day. This is what your sleeping schedule should look like as you grow older. The National Sleep Foundation is making changes to the recommended sleeping hours we need to live a healthy and balanced life. Their take on the subject is to provide some orientation for what can be considered too little, or too much, but with the focus on individuals. Questions like, “are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep?” are something we should all ask ourselves, to adjust our sleeping schedule to what we need daily.
Sleep what you want, not what you can
It might seem utopian in today’s world, but it´s a matter of setting our priorities in the right order. According to recent studies, lack of sleep can severely harm our mind and body, and open the door for more severe diseases. It causes what experts call Sleep Debt. That is the way our body lets us know we are not doing it right, and like every debt, we have to pay it in the end. Our bodies will diminish some of its more delicate functions, and save that energy to preserve more basic mechanisms.
When this happens, we compromise our immune systems, and our memory (especially short term) suffers a significant slowdown, or even loss. We might very well be opening the door for depression to enter our lives - and the consequences don’t stop there. We are at risk when we try to perform complex operations that require attention, like driving a car. Healthcare websites that write about this subject are fairly unanimous in agreeing on the importance of sleeping being more fundamental than we believe. The mindset change should be to arrange our lives around a commitment to sleeping what we really need, instead of doing the opposite.
A cool tip for achieving this goal is to schedule your sleep as another activity in your day. Write it down in your planner/organizer.
Another strategy that’s becoming more popular is to carry a sleep journal in which to write down the sleep we’re getting every night, and why.
A helpful fact is that there are thousands of skilful and talented freelancers available for hiring. Going for the Superman I-can-do-it-all approach will only stress you more; practice delegating tasks to live a balanced life.
These TED talks will put you in perspective about this subject, the first by Jeff Iliff - and you can read on for what Arianna Huffington has to say on the subject.
What we face if we choose not to
This is a real question we must ask ourselves, if we want to replace self-destructive habits with brand new healthy ones. Some consequences involve us, and some others involve those around us. Not getting enough sleep over an extended period of time can cause accidents and overall numbness. Sleepiness can cause real catastrophes, because it diminishes your reaction times as well as affecting your more delicate and precise movements. The consolidating functions - which are the cycles in the brain needed to learn new things - might not work right if we reduce resting time. Lack of quality rest opens the door for heart diseases to appear, and can turn diabetes into a real problem.
For a more in-depth take on ten surprising effects of sleep loss, take a look at this incredible article and then decide for yourself. Also, there is more about the reasons for and consequences of sleep deprivation in this fantastic TED talk.
So, how much do they sleep?
Leaders, sports stars, and influential characters have their take on what “enough” sleep is. Let’s take a look at some of them and their daily routines.
1 Donald Trump
The president of the United States of America is known for being a late-night tweeting guy, and also an early-morning tweeting guy. This successful entrepreneur, businessman, and personality claims to sleep 3-4 hours a day.
2 Daymond John
The 48-year-old American-made entrepreneur, CEO, investor, motivator and businessman is very well-known for his energy levels, and his positive take on life. He claims he can get all of it done sleeping four hours a night.
3 Martha Stewart
This 76-year-old DIY queen who founded an empire on her cooking and lifestyle claims to be sleeping four hours a day every day. When she´s awake, she finds the time to be a best-selling author, business woman, entrepreneur and TV personality.
4 Richard Branson
This 67-year-old entrepreneur is not only the owner of an empire but also a magnetic personality and lives a crazy life full of adventures, family, and fun. He claims he’s able to do all of it sleeping six hours a day. If Richard can run the 400 companies that constitute the Virgin Group, we can sleep those hours too, right?
5 Barack Obama
The former US president is known by his associates and fellow politicians to be a dedicated reader, and going well into the night to prepare the best speeches. He ran the country, and still slept six hours a day.
6 Elon Musk
When this 46-year-old entrepreneur is not trying to find a way for us to live in outer space or conquering Mars, he dedicates six hours to resting his incredible mind.
7 Mark Cuban
Running an NBA team must be quite a challenge for this 59-year-old entrepreneur and investor, who still manages to get 6-7 hours of sleep every night.
8 Sheryl Sandberg
Being the CEO of one of the biggest, most profitable companies on the planet as Facebook is the everyday routine for this 47-year-old wonder woman. She rests seven hours every night.
9 Arianna Huffington
Is her motto “want to be successful? Sleep more”. She is the sleeping guru, and we highly recommend her TED talk. Besides running the Huffington Post and being an influential public personality, she sleeps eight hours a day.
10 LeBron James
To some basketball fans, LeBron is the best player in the history of the sport. How does he do it? He claims to get a full twelve hours of sleep every night (and he trains very hard every day, of course).
The risks of not sleeping the amount of hours you need can be harmful to your mind and body - so if you still decide to go for it, make sure it’s worth it.
Did we leave out any famous personality from our top 10? How many hours sleep do you need to face the day? Leave us your comments below!