I used to hate going to bed when I was little and it drove my parents nuts. It’s not that I was a bad kid, but I remember not being able to shake the feeling that I’d somehow be missing something by going to bed.
I can’t imagine how my five-year old self would feel now. In a digital age where it seems like the world is always awake, you truly are missing something by going to bed. Bloggers are posting, tweeters are tweeting and you’re missing it all by lying horizontally in a darkened room with your eyes closed, which the critics say is supposedly good for you. In the meantime, you could be cleaning, or emailing, or Snapchatting, or whatever it is the kids do these days and you’re losing all these hours of productivity to simply doing nothing. It’s enough to make a girl go crazy, right?
Wrong. Sleep is everything, and it’s funny that in a world ruled by batteries we seem to forget the importance of recharging ourselves. Sleep deprivation is often said to be one of the cruelest forms of torture, and anyone who has suffered through a night of tossing and turning would be inclined to agree. With the extreme effects that lack of sleep has on both the body and the mind it seems crazy that we as a society would continue to choose work over rest when one so clearly affects the other.
I’m not trying to lecture; I was like you once. Lack of sleep was not a new concept to me. As a fairly anxious person it’s often hard for me to sleep through the night (let alone fall asleep at all) and as I got older I learned to embrace my bad sleeping patterns because they allowed me to stay up and work and drink way too much coffee. I was happy because I was being productive but I was also exhausted, and exhaustion can be dangerous.
Emotionally, mentally, physically our brains need recharging time in order to function. It’s your body’s diagnostic test- a way of making sure that everything is in good working condition without you having to know a thing. If your brain doesn’t get that tune-up every night your insomnia can be managed in the short term, but it can develop into a more serious issue if the problem isn’t resolved. Exhaustion can affect your coping mechanisms, your logic, your critical thinking skills, your memory, your hormones and your immune system – and that’s just the start of the list.
The biggest problem for people who like to keep busy instead of getting sleep is that they’re operating under the false impression that they’re getting more done by stretching the hours of their day. Instead, they are less productive because they’re not operating at their full physical and mental capacities and that can lead to sloppy work, mistakes, and an all-around lower quality output.
I’m sure you were a small child once. (Weren’t we all?) Our parents enforced bedtimes, established routines and emphasized the importance of getting a good night’s sleep so that we were refreshed and prepared for the day ahead of us. Why don’t we hold ourselves up to the same expectations? When did becoming an adult mean not taking care of oneself?
Even the most immature adult should know- bedtime isn’t just for babies.
What are your best practices for a great bedtime routine? Share your comments below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you a book-before-bed person like me? I’ve got lots of suggestions on to read here.