Do You Get Enough Sleep?

sleepinessA recent podcast from CNet featured Michael Breus, a psychologist and sleep specialist.   Dr. Breus discussed some common misnomers regarding sleep and its effect on those around us.

Getting adequate sleep is foundational to being successful in today’s world.  Consider the following important factors regarding sleep:

  • Staying healthy – to remain in good health and avoid illness, your immune system requires you to get enough sleep each night.  In fact, trying to “catch up” on sleep by sleeping extra can actually cause additional harm to your body.
  • Being a effective employee – in order to remain sharp, we must be alert and capable of learning and applying new knowledge.  Plus, being able to deal with stressful situations requires brain capacity and emotional intelligence, which is enhanced by sleep.
  • Participating in social situations – Who wants to carry on a conversation with someone who is constantly sleeping and who acts un-interested in your topic?  Also, in the podcast, Dr. Breus said that most sexual issues he comes across with couples are related to at least one of the partners not getting adequate sleep.

Contrary to the popular belief that we all need to get 8 hours of sleep each night, Dr. Breus tells us that 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep is best for most people, depending on your individual needs.  He heavily discourages the use of a snooze button as it promotes a very ‘negative’ type of sleep.  Also, in terms of naps, the good doctor says that a 20 minute power nap is the most effective.  His way of power napping includes slugging a lukewarm cup of coffee, then napping for 20 minutes, then “you’ll be good to go for another 3 or 4 hours.”

Do you feel you get enough sleep to be effective in your day-to-day life?