Often, our society today looks down upon sleep as some form of laziness, especially when compared to work. It’s like working long hours and getting little sleep is somehow superior to getting a regular, good nights rest.
In the Special Events field, there are some days where sleep is scarce. Once or twice or three times a year, give or take, there are days where I’ll work 36, 40, 48 hours straight to get jobs done. And that’s fine in the sense that things literally just have to get done.
But even in those times, I’m probably not operating at my peak efficiency. In fact, I KNOW I’m not operating at my peak efficiency, because my brain sort of begins to shut down. I’ll think slower, become less patient, and often make little mental mistakes that I wouldn’t normally make. It’s also risky to drive, and it’s wise to remember that as a driver, we operate a lethal weapon, and are doing so in a more risky manner when we’re tired.
What normally helps me is to get in a little power nap here or there, 30 minutes in the car, 45 minutes in the office, just something to give me a bit of shut-eye. And that normally refreshes me enough to recharge my batteries.
Doesn’t work for everyone, and I wouldn’t ever say this is the ONLY way to do it. You gotta find what works for you, and of course, sometimes the circumstances dictate that, well, sleep will just have to wait. But a regular pattern of little to no sleep is probably not a wise way to live.
But don’t just take my word for it:
National Sleep Foundation – “magic number” varies from person to person, based on your “basal sleep need” and “sleep debt”.
Mayo Clinic – recommend 7-8 hours for adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – outlines some basic tips to help you get better sleep, aka sleep hygiene.