During a busy week (or month), in order to cram in as much as possible to our day, sleep is often the first thing that is neglected:
‘If I just have a 6-hour sleep tonight, I’ll be able to get that report finished, put the kids to bed and respond to those 5 million What’s App texts before bed.’ Uh-huh...
What are the effects of not getting enough sleep?
Night after night most of us squeeze our nightly rest into as little as four or five hours. A one-off might be ok, however if we do this again and again, just a few hours sleep can be extremely counter-productive, leaving us: moody, exhausted, irritable, lacking concentration and unable to hold an eloquent conversation.
I am definitely guilty of this, and certainly suffer from these consequences above when I get six hours of sleep or less a night. If this lack of sleep continues more than a few days we may feel extremely emotional, experience apathy, slowed speech and flattened emotional responses as well as impaired memory and the inability to multi-task. All of which are pretty vital for most careers, right? Yikes.
Sleeping helps nourish our brain power:
Whilst we sleep and rest, our brains are actually hard at work processing thoughts from that day; busy creating pathways for new memories and insights. Without that crucial sleep each night, we may struggle to pay attention and respond to the best of our ability.
New parents with young babies, perhaps get as little as three or four hours a day, broken up into painfully small chunks as they grab sleep whenever they can throughout the day and night. Shift workers are also particularly prone to sleep deprivation from night shifts and constantly changing their sleep patterns. There is no fixed number of hours that we should all have; each of us have different bodies and different lifestyles, therefore the amount of sleep we need varies from 7 to 11 hours. Taking into account the side effects above, most of us know if we have had enough sleep or not.