The only ‘one size fits all’ solution to feeling happier
I believe that everyone deserves a tailor-made approach when it comes to making a plan to improve how you feel and what you can achieve. What worked for someone else will never work for you in exactly the same way. We are all different, with different preferences, different needs, and different strengths.
However, there is one component that is a MUST in every plan: ensuring you get enough, good quality sleep.
Why good sleep is so important
There are numerous hypotheses and a vast body of research around this question. The truth? As with many things that involve the brain, we are still not quite sure what the function of sleep is. We think sleep has a restorative function in three areas:
- DNA repair - Our DNA is vital to all bodily functions and it gets damaged during the day by all sort of toxins (in our food, chemicals we inhale, radiation). Fortunately, we have a repair system in place, that appears to be most active during our sleep.
- Pruning of brain connections - Our brain has the ability to make new connections between cells. During our sleep, the connections that are important get strengthened, while the connections that have no use are pruned, which improves our ability to learn new information or a new skill and our creativity in problem solving.
- Getting rid of waste - All processes that take place in the cells of our body produce waste. In the brain, we believe this waste is 'washed away'. This process takes place during our sleep.
The benefits of good sleep
Fortunately, there are also things we DO know about sleep. Like the benefits of good sleep:
- Better memory
- More creativity
- Better mood
- Better judgment
- More empahty
- Better problem solving skills
- Improved ability to learn a new skill
And not sleeping well is associated with things we would rather avoid, like higher stress levels, increased pain perception, impulsiveness and obesity.
How much sleep we need
All adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Exceptions aside, this includes the people who say they just don't need a lot of sleep. Sure, we can train ourselves to get by on less sleep. And after a while, that is our new normal, so we don't feel that we are actually still tired. Or that we could be functioning better, if we were to get more sleep.
But we need at least 7 hours, most of us need around 8 and there are definitely people who need 9 hours of sleep each night. Women on average need around 20 minutes more sleep per night than men.
How to know if you're getting enough, good quality sleep
To evaluate your own sleep, step 1 is simply to evaluate the number of hours you're getting.
Step 2 is to (truthfully!) answer the following questions:
- Did you feel rested when you woke up?
- Did you wake up by yourself, or by the alarm clock or kids/fur babies/etc?
- Did you feel energized throughout the day?
- Did you have any cravings for stimulants (coffee, nicotin, sugar) during the day, and/or things to unwind (alcohol) during the night?
If, according to this brief analysis, you are a good sleeper: congratulations!
Keep up the good work, because you are doing great for yourself, your loved ones and your business.
Not such a great sleeper?
Then I have just the thing for you: I am hosting a sleep challenge starting May 3 2019! We will use scientifically proven methods, holistic tools and support to achieve our sleep goals together.
Join me with other ambitious female entrepreneurs in the Facebook group, can't wait to meet you. Don't worry if you're a little late to the party, you can still catch up.