How to Be Smarter and Happier (Spoiler Alert: Get More Sleep!)
“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.”
JoJo Jensen, Farmer Wisdom
We’ve all been those tall two-year-olds from time to time, right? We get moody, emotional, and easily overwhelmed without enough rest. The easiest way to improve our health, increase our concentration, and elevate our mood, is to get plenty of sleep. Unfortunately, many people are fatigued and not operating at their optimal level simply because they are just not getting enough. Air, water, food, and sleep are required to survive. But, in this fast-paced and blue-light-filled digital world, we are often short-changing ourselves; we need more than we are getting. According to the National Sleep Foundation, we need 7–9 hours nightly. Our over-scheduled days and nights are catching up and wreaking havoc on our work performance and personal happiness.
How bad is it not to get enough sleep? Research shows that sleep deprivation leads to stress, as well as has negative impacts on our physical and mental health. Often feeling “stressed-out” is nothing more than a lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to crankiness or even depression. When we don’t sleep, it is like taking an anti-depressant. Without sleep, the immune system weakens, the rate of diseases increases, and the body craves fats and sugar, which can lead to obesity and diabetes. A lack of sleep also reduces cognitive function, affects our memory, and our IQ is negatively affected.
Conversely, how good could it be when you ARE getting enough sleep? We derive beauty, happiness, energy, and intelligence when our body has appropriate recovery time. Sleep keeps us looking and feeling younger, and we’re more productive as it helps increase our focus.
What can you do to improve your sleep?
- Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it, even on the weekends.
- Turn off all devices emitting blue light, like your phone and television, one hour before bedtime. Find other sleep-friendly activities like reading.
- Lower the temperature of your bedroom at night to at least 68 degrees.
- Install blackout curtains in your bedroom or wear a sleep mask.
- Upgrade your mattress to improve the quality of your sleep. On average, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping.
- Prepare for your morning the night before, from writing your “To Do List” to planning what to wear. Alleviate any stress that will cause you to toss and turn during the night.
- Consider a nap. A power nap of only 15–20 minutes will allow you to be refreshed.
And honestly…sleep is relaxing and fun. There is no pain, it’s all gain!
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