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S is for Sleep

Updated: Apr 8

“I'll sleep when I'm dead” is actually fantastic advice if you're aiming for an early exit. It forms the basis of many mental and physical illnesses. The truth may be harsh, but learning all the productivity tools in the world will do you no favors if you have an unbalanced sleep rhythm. Sleep acts like a reset button, allowing the body and mind to process and recover from the events of the day. Whether it's regulating stress, healing pain, or making better decisions, your body may appear inactive, but it is working hard to provide you with a refreshed start for the next day. If you interrupt your normal sleep-wake cycle, the circadian rhythm, the body's work will remain unfinished, making you less resilient against mental and physical sickness.

So, if you already feel unbalanced, look at your sleep habits. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all sleep advice. It’s as individual as diet. Nevertheless, there is some guidance that can help you reform your schedule. Factors that influence your need for sleep include your age, light exposure, nutrition, stress, emotional responses, physical activity, pre-sleep rituals, illness or medication, hormones, and daytime naps. It’s a list that may seem overwhelming at first, but most of these factors work together. If you focus on the ones you can change, you will likely improve other areas.

For example, you can’t change your age, but you can control the light exposure you get. The best way is to wake up with sunlight exposure in the morning. And that doesn’t mean just looking outside the window, as it blocks the UV light necessary to kickstart your circadian rhythm. While spending 20 - 30 minutes outside is optional, it's unfortunately not always realistic. However, any exposure to natural light is better than none, so open the window, grab a comfy beverage, and look outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

This will also help you balance your hormones and create a better pre-sleep habit. Bonus points if you reduce blue light exposure, aka the black mirror in your hand, at least an hour before walking into dreamland.

You might notice that your brain thrives on patterns and predictability to feel happy. Hence, it's no surprise that embracing consistency works like magic to keep your body's internal clock ticking smoothly. Setting a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, can work wonders. Life, being the unpredictable rollercoaster it is, might throw some curveballs our way. Try your best to be adaptable and kind when things fall off the wagon. So hey, if you're feeling under the weather, whether mentally or physically, gift your brain the sweet comfort of regular sleep—it's your ticket to healing.

Do you want to learn more about sleep?

📚 "Circadian Code" by Satchin Panda. He is a leading expert in the field of circadian rhythm research and a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

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S is for Sleep
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