Childhood Sleep Lessons

5 Important Things You’ve Forgotten About Sleep

Getting more restorative sleep is one of the 6 Pillars of a Less Stress Lifestyle because good sleep is one of the vital functions in life. If you’re not sleeping, stress is taking it’s toll in a variety of ways. When we were young, sleep was sacred, but as we age, we get cavalier about it. We trade it for pulling all-nighters, having fun with friends, late night “me” time, TV and even social media. We think we’re invincible and that what we’re doing in our waking hours is so much more important than anything that could be happening during our sleep. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And we all could stand to remind ourselves of these five important things we seem to have forgotten about sleep.

1. Sleep helps you grow.

As children, our parents wanted us to sleep. And when we asked why, they would say “it helps you grow”. “If you want to grow, you need to go to sleep.”

Well, they were right, because during quality sleep, a hormone called Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released, which helps you do everything from grow in terms of height to grow and retain muscle, basically grow all healthy cells throughout your body. Healthy cells mean overall health and longevity. So it’s really important that you get good quality sleep.

2. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be cranky tomorrow.

This well-meaning phrase ultimately means that sleep affects mood. If you’ve ever had a situation where you didn’t get enough sleep and you had a short fuse the next day, you know this one well. You may have said some things that you didn’t really mean, and that’s because your sleep impacts your mood in a dramatic way. Think about the relationships that really matter in your life and how just a little more sleep might improve them.

3. You shouldn’t stay up late on a “school night”.

If it’s the night before you want to do something where your brain is going to function well, be it learning things, doing your job or just being productive, you need to get a good night’s sleep because new information and other memories are integrated during sleep.

Sleep is where things 'sink in', so make sure you get enough of it.Click To Tweet If you’re a parent, all the more reason to not just speak about, but also model the good night’s sleep habit.

4. If you have a problem, sleep on it.

If you want to have good brain function and good decision-making, you need to have a good night’s sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep means that you’ll be able to make good choices on everything from food to financial decisions. Low on sleep? Beware of the tempting treats in the break room and do NOT make any major purchases. Get back to the latter when you’ve paid down your sleep debt.

5. The early bird gets the the worm.

If you get to bed early, you can get up early. And, if you get up early, you will be able to be more productive. You’ll have an edge on your competition. Brain experts state that for every hour of sleep you get before midnight, it’s actually worth two in terms of cognitive and physical function. But you don’t need an expert to tell you that. Have you ever slept the same number of hours on two different nights, with one being much later than the other? If so, you probably noticed that the same amount of sleep, when started later in the night, does not leave you feeling your best the next day. Sleeping from 10pm to 5am, for example, is a really good goal because that gives you the two hours before midnight that will leave you feeling much better than the same seven hours from midnight to 7am.

So, as much as it pains me to say it, our parents were right when it comes to sleep matters. Because sleep matters! You know better, now it’s time to do better.

If you’ve found these tips helpful and want to go a little deeper, be sure to pick up my free Bullet Point Guide to Better Sleep.

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