My daughter has an incredible capacity to sleep. I, conversely, don’t sleep much. I’m one of those, “I’ll get sleep when I’m dead” type of guys. So as you might imagine, she and I have had more than a few “conversations” about sleep. I guess I should be happy we don’t have to have “conversations” about her insurance claims. 🙂
“With insomnia, nothing’s real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy, of a copy, of a copy…When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep and you’re never really awake.” ~ Fight Club
Why do I care that my daughter sleeps so much? Is it because I want her to be more productive? If I’m being honest, she is actually very productive. She has always taken difficult classes in school and maintains an excellent GPA. She wants to work and earn money, and none of this changed when she left for college and was on her own.
Maybe she just knows something I don’t? Please, don’t tell her I even suggested that. 🙂
Thinking about all these “conversations” I’m having with my daughter about her sleep, I thought I’d take a look at sleep as part of our Foundations Initiative. We could all benefit from understanding the value of sleep, and nothing is more a foundation building to our health and wellness than a good night’s sleep.
Are you seriously going to talk about sleep?
If you’re like me, then you’re already preparing for new age mumbo-jumbo, and those like my daughter … well you’re nodding off.
Americans pride themselves on hard work and that often translates into “burning the midnight oil.” We wear our lack of sleep as a steely badge of honor. But sleep is great, why are we so proud to not get enough of it?
If we really want to be at the top of our game, where we’re kicking-butts-and-taking-names, we need to prioritize sleep, and make it a more important part of our daily habit.
The science behind the benefits are solid, yet we still make compromises when it comes getting a the right amount of sleep. The list of objective benefits of good sleep is compelling:
- Avoid many serious illness
- Manage chronic pain
- Lower risk of injury
- Enhance creativity
- Improve our mood
- Control our weight
- Think we greater clarity
- Improve our memory, and
- Build up our immune systems
Those are some good and powerful reasons to get more sleep. But if that isn’t enough to make you think about improving your sleep habits, the National Sleep Foundation says that 26% of people say their sex lives suffer as a result of poor sleep. A recent University of Michigan study suggests that women who get more sleep have more sex. In fact, each additional hour of sleep improves the likelihood of sex by 14%.
But why do we really need to sleep?
Sleep seems to be an odd artifact of our evolutionary process. How could it have benefited early humans? We’re much more vulnerable when we’re asleep, presenting a great opportunity for an opportunistic, prehistoric carnivore to turn us into the “other white meat.”
Why is it that sleep continues to survive the evolutionary process?
The real answer is that sleep does serve very essential function, otherwise “death by carnivore” would have eliminated it.
Sleep, as research shows us, is part of daily brain maintenance. It’s not only critical in forming and consolidating memories, but it also plays a role in forming and pruning neuronal connections. But in a series of new studies in the journal Science, we are finding that sleep may play a critical role in our psychological maintenance. When you sleep, all your psychological junk is being cleared away, kind of like clearing the cache on a computer.
So, back to me and my daughter, what is really happening to me when I don’t sleep is that I’m, working more, and likely accomplishing less … and doing my work badly or below my capability.
What if I can’t sleep?
Trouble sleeping sucks! We all know what it’s like to have residual thought running through your mind that keep you from falling into good sleep, or preventing you from staying asleep. A new study in JAMA International Medicine suggest the remedy lies in “mindfulness meditation.”
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you likely want to consult a doctor, however, if you’re struggling with some mile insomnia, mediation may provide you the benefits that mindfulness provides.
If medication doesn’t help … you can always re-read this article. J
So, I guess my daughter wins this one. And for all those of you like me, maybe you’re underachieving right now and you don’t even realize it, and all it would take is better sleep habits. Really, is it possible you’re getting your butt handed to you by your co-worker who sleeps in and goes to bed early?
At IronPoint Insurance Services we view insurance, like your personal savings, as the foundation for a good financial plan. As a matter of fact, it’s part of the foundation for a healthy and prosperous life.
With our Foundations Initiative, we extend this concept of foundations to include our health and wellness, call it our Benjamin Franklin philosophy. We’re doing our part, small as it may be, to help our community be “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” So, along with all our business, home or auto insurance content, you’ll find more in-depth conversions that build on the foundation of a happy family, workplace, and community life.