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If you want to harm someone, keep them awake

/*Acest articol este despre somn. Dacă vrei să citești despre acest subiect în limba română, Cristina a scris chiar ieri despre asta. Articolul ei e foarte bine structurat și explică foarte bine importanța somnului. Are la final și niște recomandări faine dacă vrei să aprofundezi pe subiect, iar dacă ai timp, poți vedea și aceste două video-uri despre somn (De ce dormim? și Ce se întâmplă cu tine noaptea? de pe canalul Zaiafet, bazate pe cartea lui Walker. De asemenea, Andrei Roșca are și el un episod din podcast-ul ZeroPlus dedicat acestui subiect, unde o are invitată pe Oana Vlah. /

I told you in a previous article that I am about to finish listening to Matthew Walker’s fascinating book. Why we sleep is by far my favourite from anything I have ever read (even though I didn’t technically read it😊 ).

This book made me understand so many things about how important sleeping is for our lives, it almost made me cry. And this is because I want to share this information with as many people as possible and maybe you can help me to do so.

The subject is more and more popular and luckily a lot of people started talking about this lately. Talking about it is important, and the more we talk about it, the more we’ll be able to make people around us understand that sleeping is crucial.

Even before reading this book, even before knowing it exists, I changed my job. I did it because I wanted to sleep more, because I wanted to develop a healthy sleeping pattern.

Sleeping the minimum of hours your brain and body needs every night is vital.

These times we are living in tend to push us over our biological limits a lot.

We have often induced the idea that sleep is a waste of time, we could do something better, more productive, instead of sleeping.

Wrong! The only thing we do is slowly killing our productivity and ourselves in the end.

At last, after about 3 months, I manage to achieve it. I am now sleeping a minimum of 7.5 hours a night. I am not going to sleep later than 11, and that on a rare occasion. However, it is still quite hard to wake up in the morning, sometimes even after 10 hours of sleep. Do you know why?

Because I have been sleep-deprived for years.

A chaotic schedule, late hours of going to bed, waking up after 4-5-6 hours and starting work again, all these took me to a stage of my life where I was constantly tired.

After listening to this book, I learned that unfortunately we can never recover for those sleep hours we have lost in the past. That’s why my best advice would be to stop wasting them on activities that don’t bring you any real, valuable benefits.

Actually, stop wasting your sleep hours, no matter what!

Make a long night sleep part of your daily agenda

Even if you are working on a school project, learning something new or doing anything that can sound very productive, doing it when you should sleep is incredibly wrong.

If you are working on a job that doesn’t allow you to a healthy sleeping pattern, change it! Remember, any job will pay your bills, but very few will pay your sleeping debts and, long term, your life.

If you are feeling sleepy during the day, your energy is something you remember of being fun, but you haven’t had it in months or years, your productivity and level of concentration are extremely slow…

 Well, you need to sleep! Not today, not tomorrow, not this weekend. These few occasions won’t cover up for the hours you’ve lost so far. You need to make a long night sleep part of your lifestyle.

I am not a sleeping expert after just one book and a few podcasts.

However, I have experienced late nights, going to bed and not being able to fall asleep, sleeping 2-3 hours a night because even if I had to wake up early in the morning, the series I was watching was too interesting.

How did I manage to stop this?

  1. I changed my job. The hospitality industry can be very challenging if you are trying to develop a healthy, recommended sleeping pattern.
  2. After a few weeks, I started going to bed early. Having to wake up at 6:30AM every morning made it a bit harder to stay late, so I was forced to.
  3. Recently, I put technology away.

I used to go to sleep and wake up with the phone in my hand, it was always charging over night right next to my head.

If I was waking up in the middle of the night to drink water, I was checking if I have any new notifications. Now, I am leaving it in the living room at least 1 hour before going to sleep and only touch it in the morning to stop the alarm.

Now, I am waking up early on weekends too.

I created a routine for my brain, that works. It’s really important to analyse your body, your reactions and emotions, and understand how this will best work for you.

And of course, read as much as you can on the subject. This will help you big time.

Where am I now?

After 3 months, I stopped snoozing. I have quite a loud alarm sound. Having my phone in the living room, makes me get my ass out of bed to stop it. After I do, the phone stays there, I carry on with my morning stuff.

Creating this habit also helped me be more organized.

It helped me give up on the bus and walk to the train station 25 minutes every morning.

Helped me be more focused when reading, making the process faster and enjoyable. If last year I read 1 book the whole year (yeah, horrible, I know), this year I am about to finish the 2nd one and it’s only January.

Yeah, I know, I need to focus more on other habits as well, which will increase my productivity even more. But I am taking them step by step and eventually, I will achieve everything I am aiming for. First, I will sleep. I didn’t get to that stage where I am waking up every morning at the same time without the alarm, but that will come soon.

It’s enough to believe in yourself and work on every single goal every day. You might fail, but remember this, when you’ve reached the bottom, the only way to go is up.

Now, here’s a few things I learned from this book, randomly, with bullet points:

  • We can never recover for the sleep hours we lost. Every night’s sleep hours have to be constant, and the best recommended is 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
  • There are more accidents happening because of sleep-deprivation than alcohol and drugs combined.
  • Going to work sleep-deprived is the same as going to work drunk.
  • Caffeine can affect your sleep if you are drinking it too late.
  • Electricity, and especially LED and blue light, help us trick our brains into believing it’s not time for sleep yet. This will keep us awake for longer and make it harder to fall asleep. Then, guess what? It will also make it harder to wake up in the morning. This is because our brain is not fully rested. 
  • It will be harder to fall asleep after eating or exercising. It’s best to do these activities at least 3 hours before going to bed.
  • Long term sleep deprivation can  increase the risk of cancer, as your immune system will be too low to prevent the development of cancer cells in your body.

If you want to hear more from the author himself, here’s a video from Talks at Google where he talks about sleep.

Good night 😊

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