MF 287 : How I get better sleep by understanding its importance
In this episode, I share how I started getting better sleep by understanding its importance and function. I also share updates on recording a friend’s audiobook and my next book. Bemovingforward.com.
Prioritizing and getting better sleep by understanding why it’s so important
Last week, I shared that I was making sleep a priority as I was in the middle of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (****). After finishing that book, I gained a greater appreciation for why sleep is so important.
The book provides compelling evidence that a full 8 hours of sleep per 24-hour period is essential. It dives deep into the science, explaining the benefits of NREM and REM sleep cycles are essential for physical, mental and even emotional health.
One of the more interesting and important facts I learned from this book was the role of REM sleep, the cycle in which we dream. Beyond Freud’s psychoanalysis of what dreams may mean, Walker shares that REM sleep acts as part of your brain’s irrigation system, so-to-speak, helping to clear the jumble of thoughts and memories that clog up our system during the days. This is in contrast to NREM sleep which is more about resting and re-energing the body and brain. Both play an important part in our overall health and maintenance and Walker provides compelling evidence that sleep is likely a “magic elixir” to overall health and long life.
Finally, the book corrected a long-standing misconception and misunderstanding I had of sleep. I once believed that sleep was like a debit account in that you could “borrow” against a full night’s sleep and “pay it off” later with naps and on the weekend. Walker dispels this with evidence that sleep isn’t a debit or credit system. Rather, a full 8-hour cycle is optimal and anything less will deprive you of its full benefits. Moreover, sleeping more later will not replenish those lose benefits to the fullest.
The book also has some rather scary implications, both individual and socio-economic, that lack of sleep causes. Walker explores all of these and if nothing else, it “scared” me into making sleep a bigger priority.
We’re all experiencing the stress and turmoil of this pandemic. What I’ve learned from reading this book and from listening to my body and my mind, is that one of the best things we can do is to be gentle with ourselves and to do us and everyone else a favor by trying to get as much sleep as possible.
Updates on other things
While trying to get back to a normal sleep pattern, I’ve also been working on some other projects during the day to stay productive.
Audiobook: I just finished the final tweaks on the audiobook that I’ve been narrating for a friend’s book. In the coming weeks, I’ll be able to share more on that.
Next book: As I’ve been wrapping up the voiceover work, I’ve started returning back to my next book on Poshmark, based on the podcast mini-series from last year.
Business grants and loans: As mentioned over the past few episodes, I’ve been applying to different programs, both state and federal, to help my dad’s business stay afloat. As you may have seen in the news and as of the recording of the episode a few days ago, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which I talked about in last week’s episode, quickly ran out of funds. I’m not sure how that impacts my dad’s application since we haven’t heard anything yet but as of this week, the Senate approved a bill to allocate close to a half-trillion dollars of additional funds into the PPP, which the House is voting on today.
What I’m reading / read
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (****): this book should be required reading and I hope it sparks a national discussion since it impacts everything from healthcare to education to individual health and well-being. The importance of sleep cannot be understated and it’s long overdue, especially during these times, for us to rethink how we prioritize sleep.
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