Why sleep is magic
Compared to other animals, we sleep for quite a long time, and deeply. A rabbit only sleeps in short bursts and is very easy to wake up. We lie down and are just gone for 8 hours.
But all animals sleep, that part is consistent. No matter the environment, no matter the species, some idea of “sleeping” has survived through all of nature.
So it must be pretty useful, right? Yes! It would take too much time—and not be terribly interesting—to list all benefits here.
Instead, I want to give an intuition about why you should prioritize sleep hygiene, Which will help check if you’re doing it right.
When we’re awake, our brain and body are in a state of “immediate action”, which prohibits growth.
We use our muscles during the day. But they only grow when we sleep (or properly rest).
We use our brains during the day. But we can only form memories and deeper connections when we sleep.
Using our brain or body, breaks it down. Using a muscle literally creates tiny wounds inside it. When you rest, these wounds are filled with new and stronger material, and that’s how you grow muscle.
Similarly, when we’re awake, our brain slowly fills up. On thoughts, hormones, fluid, everything. Your head can literally be “too full” or “feel heavy” at the end of the day.
The best way to live a healthy and balanced life, is by balancing this “breaking down” and the “regrowth”. Balancing using what you have, and sleeping so it can build itself back better.
Studies have shown that lack of sleep is similar or worse than being sick or drinking too much alcohol. Think about it. It can be more dangerous to drive a car when you haven’t slept well, than when you’re drunk. I’d trust a sick person to be more productive and clear-minded than one that didn’t sleep well the past few days.
I’ve often gone to school while sick, which really isn’t that big a deal. But there have been days that I didn’t sleep at all, or only a few hours, and I learned to not force that—after I did many stupid things and ruined my health for the next week.
Studies have shown that actual learning and problem solving happens when you sleep. Our subconscious is much better and faster than our conscious state. This will be important in the rest of this guide.
I often write down my biggest problem or task, before going to bed. At that time, I really don’t know how to solve it or how to continue. When I wake up the next day, my brain will at least have a few ideas, if not the solution.
And still, nobody every thinks about improving their sleep hygiene.
Until now! Let’s look at what you can do.
This guide assumes you don’t have a serious, proven disorder regarding sleep. When in doubt about the severity of your issues, visit your local doctor.
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