You Need To Get Better Sleep, Here's How

J.R. Heimbigner by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

They say, whoever ‘they’ are, that an average person needs 7–8 hours of sleep a night. And thought leaders on the inter-webs tell us we should take a nap during the middle of the day. We should get all this sleep to become:

  • A Superhero
  • Highly Productive
  • The Best Employee/Boss/Entrepreneur
  • Healthy and Attractive
  • Smarter
  • Younger
  • The list goes on and on and on…

But, ‘they’ either haven’t had or forgot what having children, crappy jobs, PTSD, and anxiety is like. Most likely those who have had these probably overcame or worked around my obstacles (dare I say excuses). And ‘they’ probably are one of those personas or reasons I listed above.

My Experience with Sleep

I am the father of two adorable little girls. They are four and two years old. Both actually slept better as babies than their current ages. And for what it’s worth, I am the nighttime All-American to putting my sweethearts back to bed. If I get eight hours of sleep and a nap, I am either sick or on a work trip (nap happens in training meetings with lights down during presentations). < — That’s not true, it just feels like it could/should happen and probably does, just not to me.

However, as much as I scoff at the experts and their recommendations, educated articles, or jerky know-it-all lists; I know they are probably right. My life however has a different tune during this season.

Suggestions from Friends

How the heck do I get that sleep? Especially when I am side-hustling this writing dream at 5 am and lunch hours. Here are some suggestions I have received from friends in the past. Sound familiar?

Go to bed early? My kids hit the sack between 7–8 pm and then I want some connection time with my wife. All of the sudden it’s 10 pm, and I am seven hours away from doing it all over again.

Make my wife get up with the kids? Are you kidding? My wife is with my littles all day long. And she loves to sleep. I'm not disturbing my beautiful angel who makes life wonderful.

Become an insomniac? Sometimes it feels that way. However, when I get less than six hours of sleep, I am about as bad as the older gentleman who yells at kids to get off his lawn (when they are on the neighbor's lawn). I act like The Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok, basically like my two-year-old.

Why not give up writing? Might as well just give up on life. A writer writes because they have to in their being. Not just because they want to do it. Crazy person. Clearly, they don’t know me well enough.

Maybe you shouldn’t have any more kids? Ever want to make a proud father who loves all kids laugh hard, tell them that. Stop having kids? Not in this lifetime. I mean at some point we will probably have to, but these two little girls have changed my life.

Benefits of My Pipe Dream: 8 Hours of Sleep

Despite all of those suggestions and reasons above, I do know there are some great benefits to getting eight hours of sleep. It just so happens, this season in life is a short sleep type of season. And in my attempt to make fun of the ‘they who are telling me to get more sleep, I learned a few things.

8 Benefits from 8 Hours of Sleep

  1. Overall Better Health: According to WebMD (everyone’s favorite self-diagnosis website), links to heart attacks, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have come from prolonged sleep loss.
  2. Apparent Better Sex: Several articles advised that getting more sleep increases testosterone in men and women which means higher sex drive. And encourages more kids, how ironic. And no, I’m not going to get a vasectomy (see dumb suggestion number 5).
  3. Increased Learning: According to Business Insider, there is a study that showed in adults and children better test-taking with better sleep. Short-term memory increases and task resolution improve with sleep.
  4. Sleep Strengthens the Immune System: I think we all know this and can agree this is a benefit. I don’t think any of us doubt this to be true.
  5. Makes You Happier: Again, this one seems self-explanatory. Though multiple articles cited multiple studies showing this to be true. No wonder I get like an angry old man on his porch.
  6. Reduces Your Risk for Car Accidents: As I am an insurance adjuster in my day job, I found this one very interesting. Next time I talk to someone with multiple accidents on their record, I will encourage them to get more sleep per the Huffington Post.
  7. Lose Weight: According to a study reviewed by the New York Times, people who slept less snacked more. And because they were snacking and tired, tended to go for high carbohydrate foods which added pounds to the test subject. I get that, I like a PB&J at night when I can’t sleep…
  8. Reduces Stress: Dr. Oz had a lot to say about getting sleep. This article, which links to about a dozen other of his, shared how more sleep reduces anxiety and depression which cause stress.

OK, so I just became a ‘they.’ Yes, I dropped a no-it-all list on you. And you know what, my research into getting more sleep is very convincing. Now if I can just relate this to my little sweethearts, who woke me up this morning at 6 AM. Maybe we can start getting somewhere. If not, maybe I will sleep more when I am older.

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