In a recent blog post, ‘The Positive Powers of a Good Night’s Sleep’, I explored the fact that most of us tend to struggle through our days without properly valuing rest time.
It certainly doesn’t help matters when some of the world’s most prominent people, including President Donald Trump, boast that they can get by on as little as four hours’ sleep a night!
I confess to being endlessly fascinated by the power of sleep, and the increased energy even just one good night of rest can provide. I recently finished Matthew Walker’s excellent new book, ‘Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams’ and if, just like so many people, you are confused about what to do with this very important third of your life, I heartily recommend you read it.
My own view is that regulation in all areas of living is the ideal path towards a truly balanced life. I have previously referenced the famous Mars advertising slogan about “work, rest and play”, and I believe all three components are just as important in equal measure.
Unfortunately, the fast-moving world in which we live often requires us to be reactive, and so we flit from one extreme to another without really thinking about any negative effects on our wellbeing.
Email and the rise of the smartphone are very good examples of this behaviour in action. We can receive messages at any time of the day or night, and when we do, the feeling that we need to respond right there and right now can be truly overwhelming, even with non-urgent messages that could easily wait.
Rest, therefore, can often feel like a guilty secret – that if you’re getting a full eight hours’ sleep every night (or however many hours you personally need to be at your alert and productive best), then you’re lazy, or you’re doing something wrong.
So my advice to you is: if you want to live a more balanced and energy-filled life, then it’s up to you to regulate your time and put any accusations of laziness aside. Nobody is going to command you to get more sleep, so it’s up to you to prioritise it.
While the act of regulation may be hard to master at first, I and many others are living proof that when you do, the rewards are palpable (and very productive).