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Short change

It’s bizarre how many people still short change their sleep.

Sleep is nightly rejuvenation for our minds and bodies, it sustains our health, helps us regulate our emotions, consolidates learning and improves our general sense of wellbeing. All this benefit, and yet it costs nothing.

If good food was free and balanced meals optimised to our nutritional needs were distributed at zero cost, you wouldn’t short change your diet. If your boss was offering you more salary -no strings attached – you wouldn’t short change your bank account. It’s not often in life that good things come to us for free, so why short change yourself in sleep?

That so many people short change themselves when it comes to sleep centres around a myth. The myth that circulates from time to time is that we only need very few hours sleep to thrive and succeed – but in reality it’s just that: a myth. This myth tends to be associated with a drive for success and the sources that tout the myth will often discuss how major business and political leaders have built their success on very few hours sleep a night or – worse still – somehow suggest that their success was borne out by the extra ‘on’ time afforded to them by not sleeping.

Margaret Thatcher is one of the favourites that gets quoted as the indefatigable Iron Lady was said to have only slept four hours a night. To be clear, this equation of sleep being for the weak and the notion that our health and wellbeing is a sacrifice that has to be made for the cause of ‘getting ahead’ is outdated and deserving of derision in the 21st century.

Don’t short change your sleep or wellbeing out of a sense of ambition, in spite of the myth, you may very well find a lack of sleep will be the biggest factor that thwarts the realisation of your goals.