The Most Important Thing You’re Not Getting Enough Of

What are you not getting enough of? You might rattle off a few things like personal time, green vegetables, exercise, and sex.

I’m sure you’ll find time in your day for those things. You are Superwoman, right?

OK, so we’re not perfect, and we’re always going to come up short in some area. That’s just life.

But there is one thing I know you’re not getting enough of, and it’s not alright. In fact, it’s detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Any guesses?

It’s sleep.

If you’re like most woman (who all seem to be campaigning for the job of Superwoman), sleep just doesn’t seem that important.

We’ve got families to care for! We’ve got jobs to do! We’ve got to save the world!

Really, it’d just be better if we didn’t need sleep at all…like a race of cyborgs who can mop the floor, create a PowerPoint presentation, and still come up with the perfect outfit for an evening wedding at the beach. Just what does “dressy casual” mean anyway?

Until we evolve into a species that doesn’t need sleep, we better figure out a way to get more.

But why? You seem to be getting along fine, right?

That’s the thing—you’re getting along fine. Five or six (or less!) hours of sleep a night might be fine enough for you to function the next day, but I don’t want you to just “function.” I want you to thrive!

Top Excuses For Not Getting Enough Sleep

  • I have too much to do, and it all has to get done sometime.
  • My mind is at its best at 2:00 in the morning.
  • I can’t fall asleep earlier. I’ve tried.
  • Sleep is for the weak. Now bow before me!

Lies! All lies! Let’s examine these excuses one at a time, m’kay?

I have too much to do, and it all has to get done sometime.

Yep, you DO have too much to do. But nope, it all doesn’t have to get done. I’m certain there are things on your to-do list that do not add value to your life. Consider delegating what you can and dropping the rest. You’ll feel better letting the less important things fall away such as vacuuming the house 3 times a week. Seriously, no one cares.

My mind is at its best at 2:00 in the morning.

You’re kidding, right? Unless you’re a raccoon, your body is physically incapable of working at peak performance in the middle of the night. Circadian rhythms, people! You’re a human being and our bodies need plenty of sleep to recharge from the stresses of the day. Once you retrain your body to accept its natural rhythms, you’ll find that you’re just as intelligent earlier in the day.

And if you are a raccoon, I’d just like to say thanks for visiting my website instead of rooting around in my trash.

I can’t fall asleep earlier. I’ve tried.

You’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean I’m letting you off the hook. If you’re used to staying up until midnight or later, then of course it’s going to be difficult to fall asleep at 10:00. Don’t give up! Try getting into bed 15 minutes earlier every night until you reach a point where you’re going to sleep at least 8 hours before your wakeup time. This gradual approach will help ease your body into a new sleep schedule.

Also, get some thick, opaque curtains for your bedroom windows, remove any unnecessary electronics (I’m lookin’ at you, TV), face your alarm clock display away from you so you won’t focus on the time, and lower the thermostat a few degrees.

Sleep is for the weak. Now bow before me!

Wrong-o! People who don’t get enough sleep are the weak ones. Lack of sleep will affect every aspect of your day. Sleep deprivation weakens your resolve so you’ll be more likely to choose high-calorie foods and blow off the gym. And I don’t have to explain to you how dangerous sleep deprived people can be at their jobs or on the road. You must get enough sleep to function optimally throughout your day. Do it for yourself and the people around you.

And no, I won’t bow before you, but I will do a sweet curtsey.

So, how much sleep do you need? The general consensus is around 8 hours, but teenagers and young adults may need more. Also, consider what’s going on in your life. When I have tight deadlines or extra responsibilities, getting a bit more sleep helps me recover faster and plow through my day.

People who get enough sleep

  • Have better response times at their jobs and on the road
  • Are generally healthier and make better choices concerning food and exercise
  • Look more refreshed and competent and less like a member of the walking dead

How many hours of sleep do you get every night? Has it changed throughout your life?

In the comments below, let me know your best strategy for falling asleep.

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  1. Touchofthewest on March 30, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Using melatonin (the lowest dose possible actually works the best), listening to guided meditations for sleep, having an evening routine, and no electronics anywhere in the bedroom work for me now. I’m trying to sleep from 10pm-6am, I used to be a night owl but the longer I stick wih it the better I love it 🙂 also reading the book What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast keeps me motivated. Because I want to be successful!!

  2. Miss Rachel on August 19, 2012 at 5:37 am

    I usually have a pretty easy time falling asleep, but I find getting some kind of cardio exercise during the day helps me to fall and stay asleep for the night. There’s really no substitute for sleep. I had a yoga teacher who said something like doing a shoulder stand for 5 minutes was the equivalent of getting 1 hour of sleep, but I’m skeptical. 😉 I think one of the attitudes that discourages people from sleeping more is the feeling that working hard and sacrificing sleep means they’re “not lazy” and “worthy” or something.

    Anyway, thank you for this post.

  3. Shybiker on August 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Good point. My sleep lessens when my work gets more demanding (like now) and it creates a bad cycle. An important, overlooked requirement for health. How’d you get to be so smart? 🙂

    • Sage Grayson on August 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

      I’m actually an alien who sucks the brains out of helpless humans, thus acquiring all their knowledge. It beats taking the time to learn stuff the normal ways.

  4. GlutenFreeHappyTummy on August 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    great great post. it’s so true. my body doesn’t function without at least 8 1/2 – 9 hours!

  5. xvavaveganx on August 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten much better about sleeping! I used to only sleep about 4 hours a night but over the past year or two I’ve increased it to about 7! My body clock is set to about 7am and I wake up around then pretty much every day. Since I work so much I’m generally tired which has made falling asleep a lot easier. I’d like to increase it to 8 but I’m happy that I’m sleeping a more solid 7 hours 🙂 Baby steps!

  6. Megan Gann on August 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I sleep probably 10 hours a night. I consider myself lucky that I can. I was super manic in high school and slept 4 hours a night on school nights and close to 14 on the weekends. I burnt out after 3 years and get really cranky without enough sleep.

    Sleeping during what people call “normal times” is still the hardest for me. I spend a lot of time disoriented or brain-asleep when I do, even if I do it consistently. I’ll have to work on that because I’m starting school again in a week and a half. Ugh.

  7. H&K Style Journey on August 16, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Since my kids have grown, the amount of sleep I get on the weekends has increased, but during the week it’s still probably only about 6 hrs. My problem is that my mind is racing with the things that I have the do the next day, so I have a hard time shutting it down. I have found that reading right before bed helps me fall asleep better (except when it’s a really good book and then I stay up past midnight)! Heather