You're tired, you just don't know it

Marc Lou
Marc Lou April 27th, 2022

Do you fall asleep while reading or watching a movie? 🥱 Do you feel tired when waking up? 😩 Or maybe, you need coffee to get going?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these, bear with me, your life is about to get better.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1 in 3 adults doesn't get enough sleep and declared "Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic"

May 2021, I was overcoming depression and read the book "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker. My life was transformed.

Why We Sleep book by Matthew Walker
I realized I lacked sleep
Fixing it unlocked everything else in a matter of weeks (happiness, creativity, motivation)

Sleep is undervalued. We fail to realize most of our struggles can be solved with something as simple as quality sleep.

Let's dig into it and build a good sleeping habit!

  1. 1. Why is sleep so important?
  2. 2. How do I know I lack sleep?
  3. 3. 5 tips to fix your sleep in a few days

Why is sleep so important?

The human being is the only species that deprived itself of sleep for no apparent reason. Mother Nature hasn't prepared a safety net for this scenario and the consequences are catastrophic.

Your brain 🧠

During an experiment, people were divided into two categories (sleep-deprived vs. good sleep) and were asked to remember a piece of text.

A poll showing people who are sleep-deprived remember 40% less than people who sleep well

On average, the sleep-deprived category remembered 40% less.

Sleep is the save button for your memory so you remember what you learn.

On a longer time scale, lack of sleep increases the chance of getting Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

But that's not all, getting enough sleep helps your brain process emotions. It builds mental and emotional resilience.

When you're sleep-deprived, you're vulnerable to being moody or irritated. Your mental well-being is impacted and it can turn into severe consequences like depression.

Your body 🫀

There is a 24% increase in heart attacks on the day following the daylight saving time changes in spring because we lose one hour of sleep.

The testosterone level of a man who's sleep-deprived is the same as a man who's 10 years older. Lack of sleep ages a man by a decade in terms of critical aspects of wellness (similar consequences are shown for women).

Your immune system is directly influenced by the quality of your sleep. Natural killer cell activity drop by 70% if you sleep 6 hours or less.

WHO declared shift work (night work) a probable carcinogen because it disturbs your sleep schedule.

Sleep impacts every part of your physiology. "You can sleep when you're dead" is bullshit. The shorter you sleep the shorter your life.

How do I know I lack sleep?

As a general rule of thumb, an undisturbed 8 hours night should provide enough juice for you to go through your day.

A graph showing the sleep range needed for humans of different age

We all have different needs. A 7-hour night is as good for you as a 9-hour night for someone else.

However, a common mistake is assuming you "only need X hours of sleep". Ditch your alarm and see how long is your night. That's how much your body needs.

Ditch coffee too, just for this experiment (it's too good to give up completely ☕️). Coffee and other substances that boost your energy make it impossible for you to know whether you lack sleep.

Time to test your sleep 🧪

Watch a movie during the daytime. Did you fall asleep?
Something inopportune happened earlier. Did you easily get irritated or annoyed?
Read a book. Did you read the same sentence over and over?

If you answer "Yes" in these experiments, the following part will help you claim back your sleep.

5 tips to fix your sleep in a few days

You've already heard about the "no coffee/no alcohol after 12 pm" rule so I won't go into more details. But keep in mind it's critical for good quality sleep.

1. Ditch your alarm 🔕

Alarms are bad for two reasons:

- Sleep is divided into cycles and each has its own purpose. Break up the cycle and you lose its benefit.
- You don't know how much sleep you need, only your body knows. It will wake you up when it's ready. There is no such thing as oversleeping.

2. Go to bed at the same time every day 🐓

Your internal body clock (or circadian rhythms) is a 24 hours cycle that repeats every day. It does things like secreting melatonin to make you fall asleep or raising blood pressure to wake you up.

Sleep regularity is essential if you want to fall asleep quickly, wake up energized and get good quality rest.

3. Sleep in a dark place 🌚

Light exposure damages the transition of the 4 to 6 sleep cycles we go through when we sleep, lowering the quality of it.

Light acts as a signal sent to your brain through your eyes. When the lights are off, your brain starts secreting the sleep hormone (melatonin). Dim the lights 1 hour before bed for a smoother transition.

4. Set your room temperature to 18°C (65°F) 🌡

Have you ever noticed it's harder to fall asleep in summer when it's hot?

The body has its own temperature regulation system and science has shown the ideal temperature is near 18°C (65°F).

5. Don't drink water before bed 💦

When you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, you break up a sleep cycle.

Avoid drinking water a least 1 hour before bed to go through your night without segmenting it.

Final thoughts

Lack of sleep is not obvious due to energizing substances like coffee.

Sleep is overlooked and often the root of our daily irritations.

Good sleep promotes good mental and physical health.

Improving your sleep is simple and can be done in a matter of weeks.

Getting good quality sleep unlocks creativity, motivation, and productivity.

What do you think? Ping me on Twitter

PS: If you want to start tracking your sleeping habit, use my gamified habit tracker for free!

Discover other posts to fight procrastination, form good habits, break bad ones and live a better life.

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."