We’re not suggesting that all the recent mental problems exhibited by Two and a Half Men star, Charlie Sheen, can be traced to too little sleep, but that might be a start on curing the problem. For time immemorial, business gurus and entrepreneurs have preached the necessity of cutting back on sleep time in order to get the most productivity from your day.
While we’re sure God, King Solomon, and maybe even Charlie Sheen, are in favor of making the most of our time here on earth, the wisdom of burning the candle at both ends, as they say, is questionable at best. Here’s an interesting quote from former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin from his memoir White Nights, writing about sleep deprivation courtesy of a KGB prison.
“In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep … Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it.”
There’s a reason captors commonly resort to sleep deprivation as a torture method – it works. However, research has shown that cutting back a few hours of sleep each night is NOT good for your productivity or job.
* Studies show that we have a delayed response time when we cut back on sleep from 8 to 6 hours for just a few nights in a row.
* Participants allowed to sleep only 6 hours nightly for 12 nights in a row had response times as poor as those who stayed up all night for one night.
* Inadequate sleep decreases short-term memory and makes it more difficult to learn complex tasks or pay attention.
Here’s the scary part. We become less aware of sleepiness as time passes, developing a certain level of tolerance for the condition, KGB prison conditions notwithstanding. We’ll leave you with this cheery thought. People who sleep substantially less than 7 hours nightly have an increased risk of dying. Yikes. Nothing’s worth that, right? We vaguely remember God saying something about treating our body like temple.
How much sleep do YOU get most nights? Come on. Be honest.
The Solomon Success Team
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