Lack of Sleep is Wrecking Your Judgement. Here Are 12 Ways to Get More.
Magazine / Lack of Sleep is Wrecking Your Judgement. Here Are 12 Ways to Get More.

Lack of Sleep is Wrecking Your Judgement. Here Are 12 Ways to Get More.

Lack of Sleep is Wrecking Your Judgement. Here Are 12 Ways to Get More.

The relationship between happiness and sleep is often overlooked — and highly underestimated. Yet as a new Tel Aviv University study shows, a single night’s lack of sleep can significantly disturb emotion regulation and increase anxiety. Perhaps most alarming is how sleep deprivation degrades our capacity for distinguishing between what matters. According to the study’s head researcher, Professor Talma Hendler of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience, “It turns out we lose our neutrality. The ability of the brain to tell what’s important is compromised. It’s as if suddenly everything is important.”

You can add this deficit to the already alarming list of what happens when people don’t get enough sleep. As happiness expert Gretchen Rubin found while researching her #1 New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, “Although people adjust to feeling sleepy, sleep deprivation impairs memory, weakens the immune system, slows metabolism, and might, some studies suggest, foster weight gain.”And if that wasn’t enough to convince the 35% of the country that gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night–according to the CDC, insufficient sleep has become a public heath problem–one study found that a getting an extra hour of sleep each night does more for a person’s happiness than a $60,000 raise.

As someone who once struggled with getting enough sleep herself, Gretchen devised 12 tips for those who need to get to bed earlier.

  1. Give up caffeine late in the afternoon

  2. Don’t work on anything that requires alert thinking near bedtime

  3. Get ready for bed well in advance 

  4. Keep your bedroom slightly chilly

  5. Do a few pre-bed stretches

  6. Around bedtime, keep the lighting dim

  7. Get rid of, or cover, all distracting light gizmos around your bed (i.e. cellphones, tablets, laptops, alarm clocks, cable boxes, stereos)

  8. If you get cold feet at night, wear warm socks to bed

  9. When lying in bed focus on breathing deeply and slowly

  10. Keep a notebook by your bed so if you have something on your mind you can write it down. Writing a to-do list of your next days activities can also be helpful 

  11. If you wake up during the night, tell yourself you can snooze for 2 minutes and then you have to get up and begin your morning routine. This idea can be tiring enough to get you right back to sleep.

  12. If all else fails… there’s always Ambien.

Despite the many innovations that have made our lives easier, Americans get a staggering 20% less sleep today then we did 100 years ago. So keep trying out these techniques until you find the ones that work for you. Sleep is not a luxury. Though feeling well rested can certainly feel like it.

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