Although it is often the first thing we are willing to sacrifice, your body will feel more negative effects a lot faster if sleep deprived.
So much so, that sleep deprivation is even used as a form of torture!
In his memoir, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin writes about his sleep deprivation experience while in a K.G.B. prison, writing:
"In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep … Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it."
That does not sound fun! We'd rather starve.
That's right, starve! No, we're not crazy either.
While Mahatma Gandhi famously fasted for 3 weeks in order to change the world, after not sleeping for several days, you'd be almost completely unable to function.
Why are we so quick to sacrifice this valuable commodity? Too many of us believe that one less hour of sleep means one more hour of productivity.
Unfortunately for those who just can't shut their eyes, research suggests that even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity.
Want to make a healthy change? Here are a few helpful tips:
Go to bed earlier, and at a set time. If you don't ritualize a specific bedtime, you'll end up finding ways to stay up later, just the way you do now.
Start winding down at least 45 minutes before you turn out the light. You won't fall asleep if you're all wound up from answering e-mail, or doing other work. Create a ritual to help you relax around bedtime.
Write down what's on your mind — especially unfinished to-dos and unresolved issues — just before you go to bed. If you leave items in your working memory, they'll make it harder to fall asleep, and you'll end up ruminating about them if you should wake up during the night.
Those definitely make sense to us! We could probably ALL use at least one extra hour of sleep. If it means a more enjoyable and productive day, why not give it a shot?