Why cutting sleep isn’t worth it

Poor sleep is like an enticing candy bar

I haven’t seen this talked about much, but I think in order to solve the equation of good sleep for everybody we need to start digging a bit deeper into understanding why we don’t sleep well.

In this short blog I give my personal experience into how I discovered that cutting sleep just wasn’t worth it.

Cutting the amount of sleep that we know we need to have is like that sugary candy bar that we know we shouldn’t eat or that enticing bet that we know we shouldn’t make, but often we still do it anyway! 

WHYYYY? Why do we make a decision that we know is going to make us feel like trash?

There are many reasons why we may make this decision, but for me during my poor sleeping days I had no idea just how much of a negative effect poor sleep was having on my life. Yes, I, a doctor, a paragon of health knowledge and expertise (sarcasm), did not have an awareness of how sleep was affecting me for 23 years of my life. 

Sleep = Diet = Exercise

This realisation of how little I knew about the impact of sleep later became one of the main inspirations for the creation of LiveLight, I believe that everybody in the world deserves to have an awareness about the effects of their sleep, so that they can make an informed decision about something that may have a major impact on their quality of life. 

Just like we have an understanding about the effects of exercise & diet, SLEEP education must be held in similar regard, people’s lives and their mental health depends on the creation of this change. As a society we will be fighting an uphill battle with mental health & productivity/performance until EVERYBODY has an awareness of how sleep can affect these areas.

The Light bulb moment

As far as I knew it, the only effect that poor sleep was having was that it just made me feel a little bit more tired, without consequence, who cares about being tired I can suck it up I told myself. 

Unbeknown to me, my irritability, moodiness, impulsiveness, stunted creativity, through the floor ability to concentrate, violent procrastination loops, reduced tolerance to uncomfortable situations, mind fog and a memory comparable to a goldfish were all factors predominantly caused by poor sleep. There are often other factors involved, but poor sleep is frequently a significant factor that can cause these conditions or makes them significantly worse.

By chance I started sleeping better. I was interested in the field of dreams, so I started sleeping more so that I could dream more (dream researchers hit me up ;). After a few weeks of sleeping 7.5 hours + consistently, I honestly felt like a new person. I felt like a curtain of fog had been lifted from my mind (YES THAT DRAMATIC). My satisfaction with how I feel and my ability to interact with the world in a meaningful way has skyrocketed from this point onwards and I truly owe it all to sleeping better.

As soon as I became aware of the effect that good sleep had on my mind and body, I became better informed and I made decisions regarding my sleep that had a positive effect on my life. Without this awareness I didn’t realise that there was a decision to be made, so I carried on cutting sleep because having those 2 extra hours a day even though I felt like poo, made sense to me so I could get more done (or so I thought).

An alternative point of reference

I didn’t have an alternative point of reference (consistently sleeping well) to compare my 6 hours of poor sleep too, so I thought that my level of functioning whilst sleeping 6 hours a night was perfectly normal – this belief is very common.

This is a pattern that is reflected in so many people who are struggling to commit to sleeping well. There’s a perception that cutting sleep so that we can work more outweighs the benefits of sleeping for a length of time that rejuvenates us. 

Moving forward we hope to bridge the deficit in sleep awareness & hopefully inspire some of you to give sleeping better for an extended period of time a try. 

Compare how you feel during your poor sleep period VS good sleep period and you’ll have all the information that you need to make a decision about whether sleeping better makes sense for you, you may say no to consistently sleeping more but at least you will be in a much better position to make an informed decision which is the most important thing.

Help is coming 🙂

If you are struggling to make a change or don’t feel as though your sleep is serving you well, me and the team at LiveLight are making a sleep enhancer that we believe will make sleeping better a much easier lifestyle change than it is at the moment – help is coming 🙂

Have an amazing week & thanks for reading,

Dr Rich