Should We Stop Worrying About Sleep?

Do We Need To Stop The Sleep Shaming?

Do you keep waking up totally unrefreshed, gulping down your morning caffeine so you can at least mimic being awake, only to be faced with yet another report about how lack of sleep is likely to kill you? Make you fat? Render your future worthless? Be the end of us all?

Is lack of sleep really so bad? Well, YES and NO. Aside from being inconvenient, lack of quality sleep also affects how the brain functions. However, lack of sleep isn’t that bad for all of us and like anything in life, if it adversely affects you personally you will know about it. and there are many avenues to explore to help aid restful sleep. Worrying about what not sleeping is potentially doing to your health is not one of them!

Let’s start by talking about the most common reasons why lack of sleep is considered as a “sin”:

Brain Shrinkage
According to some studies, (  lack of sleep can turn you into a bird brain. Perhaps, you’re raising your eyebrow right now, thinking that’s impossible. Well, based on studies, poor sleep quality can result in a decrease of brain volume, specifically in the cerebral cortex. This is the part of the brain where our thoughts and how we interact with the world are being controlled. Thus, lack of sleep can result to shrinkage of the frontal cortex, negatively affecting our self-control, problem-solving, logic, and planning skills. Maybe that’s the reason why it’s taking you forever to solve that crossword, don’t you think?

Memory Loss
Feeling forgetful lately? It’s probably because you’ve been watching reruns of your favourite shows all night! However some studies have shown that certain memories become ‘stable’ during REM sleep- the time when you dream. You can read more here:

Leads to Obesity
No doubt about this. If you’re up all night, then there’s a bigger possibility that you’re sitting in front of the couch or computer as you munch on your favourite junk foods. Not only is your metabolism slower at night, but your digestive system shouldn’t really be digesting large quantities of food during its’ ‘rest time’.

Research shows that people who don’t sleep adequately have physiological abnormalities that may increase appetite and calorie intake. The level of leptin -a hormone which stimulates the appetite – falls in subjects who are sleep deprived, which then promotes appetite. People tend to confuse signs of fatigue with signs of hunger making those late nights a danger zone to both our sleep and our weight.

Although lack of sleep can be “unhealthy,” believe it or not, it can also have a lot of perks, and we’re going to discuss some of it:

The Benefits of Sleep Deprivation

More Time for Productivity
If you’re not sleeping, there’s a huge possibility that you’re doing something. Got a book that you have been desperate to read? How about a movie that you’ve been dying to watch for weeks? A chapter or two of that novel you are writing? 3 am is a great time to be productive, so enjoy! Do whatever you want, and it’s alright. Many entrepreneurs and great innovators come up with their best ideas at silly ‘o’ clock in the morning!

The Successful Night Owls
Despite the fact that lack of sleep can be deemed bad for us, there are some who have managed to become successful even with limited sleep. These are some of the famous personalities who are not only night owls, but happen to be among the most successful and prominent figures in the world, coincidence? I think not!:

Laurie Tucker
Being in the shipping industry is a 24/7 project, employees rush around the globe just to deliver the packages to their rightful owners. Considering that, it’s no surprise that the senior vice president of FedEx’s Corporate Market department, Laurie Tucker, is a true-blue night owl. According to this lady, her day ends at 2:00 am and rises at 6:00 am.

Michael Lewis
This non-fiction author of Flash Boys is a night-time writer. His ideal writing schedule is 7:00 pm-4:00 am. If you’ll think about it, this actually makes sense. An extreme late night schedule can be beneficial to writing, because this is the time where it’s very quiet and peaceful.

President Obama

Despite the fact that the US president Obama begins his day at 8:30 in the morning, he considers himself as a night owl, because he spends about a half hour reading before he hit the hay and that’s around 12:30 am– sometimes, a little later. This is his past time that’s also his priority at the same time, but because he’s a president, the only time he can catch up is when he’s about to go to bed.

Bill Gates

Co-founder of Microsoft. One of the most successful people in the world barely sleeps 6 hours a night. It doesn’t seem to have done him any harm!

Marissa Mayer

CEO of Yahoo! Quoted as sleeping around 4-6 hours per night.

Mark Zuckerburg

Founder of Facebook. Known for falling asleep with barely a bedtime routine to speak of, and reportedly sleeps for around only 5 hours a night.

Jack Dorsey

Founder of Twitter and CEO of Square manages to squeeze in 4-6 hours.

Indra Nooyi

Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo since 2007 sleeps a meagre 4 hours a night.

Dominic Orr

President and CEO of Aruba Networks also gets by on around 4 hours per night.

Tom Ford

Fashion Designer, apparently sleeps only 3 hours each night

Thomas Edison

Famous inventor, regarded sleep as “a heritage from our cave days”, and required 3-4 hours per night

There you have it. We can say that lack of sleep has it perks and drawbacks. What should you do about it? Our advise is, stop thinking about sleep so much, and don’t be harsh to yourself. Sleep when you want to sleep, and stay up if you want to. This is the only way where you can savour your productivity and have sweet dreams as well. After all, there is nothing like worrying about sleep to stop you from sleeping!

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