As I sit here writing this I am exhausted. This inspired today’s post, the importance of adequate sleep to your financial and physical wellbeing. Make dealing with sleep deprivation a priority before it is too late!
Before we get started let me say that in this case I am exhausted from a 24-hour plane trip. I am writing this from the balcony of my hotel in Chengdu China on another business trip. Given I don’t sleep on planes my exhaustion is quite justified. But honestly, that justification is only relevant for today. I often deal with sleep deprivation.
Why don’t I get enough sleep?
In my case my lack of sleep is largely driven by my 2 and 5 years old. Our 2-year-old likes to get up at 6 am no matter how late we are out and about and our 5-year-old gets up a bit later but he still only sleeps until 7. I am a nighttime sort of person, so this really messes with my internal clock. If I want to be up until midnight a few weeks of 6 am every day will slowly deprive me of sleep so much I need some time to recover. So, we can establish I perennially need more sleep. But what of the rest of America.
Americans Do Not Get Enough Sleep
Studies show that 70% of Americans do not get enough sleep every night over a month with 10% showing they did not get enough sleep on any night. I would imagine 70% of people do not have a 2-year-old, so I suspect this is more about trying to do too much with your time or having trouble sleeping. I can understand it, in a world where a 50-60-hour work week is not all that shocking and side hustles are the norm there is little time left for things like sleep.
But there should be. You see a lack of sleep can have disastrous effects on your health short term and long term. It also can impact your job performance and efficiency. Both have major impacts on your finances and overall happiness.
The Performance Impacts of Sleep Deprivation
Let’s start with some short-term job performance and efficiency impacts. It’s been proven that lack of sleep can cause mood swings, make you easily distracted, forgetful, and have overall negative impacts on your mood. I can see this when my sleep deprivation approaches a few weeks, where I get grouchy and short tempered. But the problems don’t end there. Your ability to make decisions quickly and accurately suffer. I see this as well. I try to make up for some of it with a new these last 5 years coffee addiction, but I am honestly just covering up the issues.
Health Impacts of Sleep Deprivation
But the impact to your work and the world around you is not where the impacts of lack of sleep end. They also impact your health both short and long term. In the short term a lack of sleep can cause anxiety, drowsiness (well duh), and cognitive impairments. In the long run lack of sleep can cause: High blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and depression. Physical health is one of the lynch pins of financial health. If you are not physically healthy then it will likely cost you a significant amount of money. As such is important to do as much as possible to stay physically healthy, including get more sleep.
Steps to Increase Your Sleep
So how can you increase your sleep with such a busy day? Let’s explore recommended steps for better sleep:
- Well the first step is to set aside time to sleep. Set a bed time and awake time if you must and stick to it. A schedule can really help with sleep.
- Get exercise and physical activity during the day. The more you do the better you will sleep.
- Watch you eating patterns. Eating too much or too little can cause you to have sleep issues. Drinking stimulants like Caffeine before bed can also cause trouble sleeping.
- Optimize your sleeping environment. Keep the room temperature and comfort in line with your personal needs. Keep the room noise situation also at the levels you prefer. You can use a sleep monitor to help you adjust these things, but in my observation, everyone is different. My wife wakes up at any noise, while a little white noise helps my sleep.
- Clear your head of stress and topics before bed. Execute a wind down period when nearing bed time so your head is not running when you fall asleep. I do this nightly by ending my day reading a magazine or book.
Do you get enough sleep regularly? If not, what impacts have you seen on your health and wellbeing? If so what tips and tricks do you use to maximize rest? I’m especially interested if you have young kids.