The Top 7 Reasons to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Recently I’ve come across a worrying trend towards ‘sleep machismo’.

My definition of Sleep Machismo for today includes:

  • bragging about how little sleep you get;
  • laughing about some of the so-called-solutions such as using alcohol (from ‘a few’ to ‘getting hammered’);
  • using various over the counter substances contrary to their intended use;
  • correct and incorrect use of legal drugs/prescription medications;
  • actually thinking that falling asleep because you have ‘knocked yourself out’ with substances is a legitimate way to fall asleep; and/or
  • incorrectly assuming that the sleep you get when you are drunk or stoned is the same quality sleep as you would get from a normal good night’s sleep.

What’s more, it’s interesting that I’m thinking “I probably sound like your mother” writing this post.

But the time for political correctness is over.  There are many other pages and posts on this website that cover the side effects of having a bad night’s sleep, and the problems associated with continued sleep deprivation.  And yes, they include fatal accidents.

Here are my Top 7 Reasons to Get a Good Night’s Sleep:

  1. To Enjoy a More Productive Day.  Most people would agree that they feel a lot better when they have achieved something significant every day of their lives.  The organ most effected by lack of sleep is the brain. Specifically your brain’s ability to remember things and learn, switch tasks, react, sort out the good information from the bad information, make sense of complex information, undertake hand-eye coordination tasks, and simplify things.
  2. To Be Happier.  Sleep is associated with a raft of psychological benefits from a better attitude and sense of humour, to reduced anxieties, reduced depression (they question which comes first), and other feel-good responses.  If you’re happy you’re more likely to get out and about, socialising, exercising and following a positive path into your future.
  3. To Improve Your Relationships.  Anyone know anyone who loves grumpy underachievers?  Not your best hot date, co-worker, boss, relation, family member or person to look at in the mirror for that matter.
  4. To make Yourself More Attractive, Handsome or Beautiful.  Lack of sleep can be the reason behind obesity, bags and dark circles under your eyes, sallow skin and other signs of general lack of vitality.
  5.  To Improve Your Short-Term Health.  Even one bad night’s sleep can cause inflammation, depressed immune function, slower healing times, or an accident the very next day.  It certainly makes us reach for more junk and unhealthy foods to try to keep us alert and functioning when we are shutting down – such as high sugar foods (chocolate and soft drinks), highly caffeinated foods (highly caffeinated soft drinks that call themselves “energy drinks” and coffee), high fat foods (fried foods, hot chips, crisps, take away foods, processed foods), etc.  It also encourages the use of other stimulants such as cigarettes, tobacco, drugs etc.
  6. To Improve Your Long-Term Health.  Lack of sleep has been associated with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, reduced grey matter in the brain (literally), psychological problems, even cancer.
  7. To avoid medications, doctor’s visits, psychological counseling and other health care costs in time and money.  Sleeping tablets and medications do NOT address the underlying issue(s) behind your insomnia problems, but they are prescribed in 95.2 percent of consultations with Australian doctors – against the recommendations of the Australian National Prescribing Service NPS.  (Source: /)

So here’s my not-politically-correct summary of what you are actually doing when you don’t sleep properly:

  1. You’re dumbing down.  Whether you are mentally challenged to start with or not, you are not doing your intelligence any favors by skimping on your sleep.  Even if you think you are super smart (yes, I know you’re out there) then think about how much smarter you’d be if you had a decent night’s sleep.
  2. You’re becoming uncoordinated.  In Australia we call this ‘unco’.  Yes, important if you have chosen sport as your career because you didn’t think you were intellectually based.  Everything is coordinated through your brain – kicking balls, playing tennis, pushing in the scrum, reaction times…
  3. You’re missing out on work opportunities, promotions and income.  The effect of not being as smart, as alert, as happy, as fit …  Is your business overlooking more rewarding and creative opportunities?   Is your boss overlooking you for other people in the office?Productivity loss through lack of sleep
  4. You could be getting fat.  Yes, unfortunately fat is associated with ‘ugly’, ‘diabetes’, ‘snoring’, ‘sleep apnea’, ‘unhealthy’, diminished career opportunities, relationship problems.  I don’t need to go on.
  5. You’re increasing your risk of mental health problems.  They include problems related to stress, anxiety, phobias, depression and mood disorders – all these are helped with a good night’s sleep.  Studies have shown that teenagers that get less than 5 hours sleep a night triple their chances of developing mental health problems.
  6. You’re not having as much fun.  That could range from not having a laugh, to getting less action than you’d hoped for.  Now there’s a quality reason to get to bed.

So I hope this has curtailed some sleep machismo.

To be perfectly frank, when people are bragging about any or all of these issues surrounding lack of sleep I just think they are stupid.  Well, I don’t think they are stupid, I’m guessing they ARE stupid.  Certainly not playing their best game!

Should I have to apologize for making statements that are backed up with science, daily observations and common sense?

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