How to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake feeling rested
Our collective relationship with sleep is one of the most paradoxical things I deal with on a regular basis.
On the one hand, British doctors write more than 15 million prescriptions for sleeping pills each year. On the other, in the last 20 years, sales of energy drinks have also increased by 75%. It seems we can neither fall asleep nor stay awake.
I my experience it is rare that people don’t know how much sleep they need: between 7-9 hours every night. It is equally rare that people get that amount of sleep, averaging instead between 6-7 hours.
Given the pleasures of sleep, it amazes me how willing some of us are to give it up. Yes, we’re all busy, but insufficient sleep is correlated with impaired logical reasoning, decision making, memory, and attention. Sleep debt is also found to be cumulative; if you sleep for less than six hours a night for five nights in a row, you can expect your cognitive performance to drop to that of a person who hasn’t slept for 48 hours.
So tiredness leads to bad decisions, meaning you lose the ability to distinguish important work from unimportant work, and so your workload increases. You work even longer hours, and sleep even less.
The good news is sleeping well is not as hard as it sometimes feels. Sleeping well is nothing more than a product of creating the right physiological and mental conditions. This is what this checklist details for you.
So if you ever struggle to fall asleep, or wake in the night and then find it hard to get back to sleep, this is for you.
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