“Why do we get out of bed? Is there any feeling better than being in bed? What could possibly feel better than this? What is going to happen in the course of my day that will be an improvement over lying on something very soft, underneath something very warm, wearing only underwear, doing absolutely nothing, all by myself?” -Chuck Klosterman 

Impact of Sleep

‘The rising tide floats all boats’.

Everything you get better at happens while you are sawing logs. Muscles repair, inflammation reduces, and stress hormones recede.  If not sleeping well, it’s undoubtedly limiting your cognitive and physical performance. 

When I don’t sleep enough and my kids arise at 5 am, I’m not a good dad. I transform into a drunk animal, fumbling around trying to make coffee while simultaneously dodging legos. I’m short with them and not engaged, as I am only partially aware of my environment. 

Lack of Sleep is Like a Hangover

Many parallels exist between lack of sleep and being hungover. Alcohol is processed through your liver and then floats around in your bloodstream as a toxin. When you drink, your adrenal glands increase to combat the poison, and that’s why you wake up feeling like crapola. Essentially your adrenals work overtime and do not reset. Repeated periods of this lead to depression and other psychological disorders. 

Decreased Mental Sharpness

Impaired learning is another side effect of lackluster sleep, plus memory suffers. Suppose you have a fight with your mate over not putting out the recyclables. If you don’t sleep, that’s going to strike a raw nerve the next day, as opposed to taking the criticism in stride. The decision making part of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex, and it’s what separates us from other animals. This area of the brain shuts off when sleep goes awry, and your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) takes over. If you can’t make rational decisions, no one will love you anymore. Maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but your relationships will undoubtedly suffer. 

In the military, drill instructors break people by minimizing sleep. Detectives use sleep deprivation as a primary interrogation technique. 

Why do it to yourself? Get yourself some blackout curtains, a fan, put that phone down, and create a relaxing routine that will take you into REM. 

Sweet dreams.