How do you value the importance of deep sleep versus a new car?
Once upon a time…
Once upon a time, sleep was undervalued. In their push to get ahead or simply enjoy life, people would spend more hours working, playing or drinking, and less hours sleeping. People thought it was cool to see how little sleep they could get by on, and even brag about it. Every day, people would wake like zombies, drag themselves out of bed, drink a strong cup of coffee and drive to work. They worked for money, not only to support their families, but to be able to afford nice luxuries, like a spacious home, jewelry, vacations, electronics and new cars, all the while investing very little on one of the things that matter most: sleep. One day, researchers presented a study with facts about the benefits of sleep. Gradually, more and more research came out supporting the benefits of sleep (and the consequences of not getting enough). Because of that, people started appreciating the value of sleep. And because of that, people started making sleep a priority and began investing in the quality and quantity of sleep time. Until finally, the world became a better place because people were better rested, more productive and more kind to each other.¹
What are your priorities?
And what, exactly, is the gist of the tale? It’s basically all about our priorities in life. How we spend our time, how we spend our money. And why should sleep be at the top of the list with regards to investments in both time and money? How much do people typically spend on new cars versus their mattress? Granted, a mattress doesn’t have an engine, wheels, bluetooth and can’t transport you from point A to point B. But what can a mattress do and why is it important? A mattress establishes the foundation which gives us the potential for getting good sleep. You could do all the right things: you could eat healthy foods, exercise and go to bed on time, but if your mattress is sub-par, you’re not going to get the kind of sleep your body requires to be its best. Conversely, a good mattress alone will not guarantee you good sleep. You still need to live a healthy lifestyle and make sleep a priority, getting into the mattress at the right times and for the right amount of time.
So, let’s say you did invest in a good quality mattress and made sleep a priority in your life. What are the benefits of a new car versus the benefits of deep sleep?
For transportation in our modern society, a car is a must have for most of us. Deep sleep is not directly responsible for transportation, but indirectly. Deep sleep enables us to be focused and alert, driving safely and carefully. What good is a car if our mind is not in the right condition to drive it?
What is the sex appeal behind a new car? Similar to wearing nice clothes, a car can help you look more attractive. It is also the money behind the symbol that is attractive. If someone can afford a nice car, they can offer financial security and the ability to purchase nice things for their partners. One of my favorite quotes about men and cars from Lynn Johnston of the For Better or For Worse comic strip: “It’s a symbol of prowess! Men never stop trying to prove their virility!” (from Pushing 40)
What about sleep? Well, to get right to the point – sleep is sexy. When you consistently get good sleep, you are going to have more energy to exercise (and make love), you will make healthier eating choices, your mood and sense of humor and ability to communicate will be better, enhancing your relationships, and you will actually look better. Side by side studies of sleep deprived individuals and well rested ones have shown that good sleep makes your more attractive. When sleep is good, all things add up to a pretty healthy and sexy version of you.
Before you can even begin being productive at work, you need to get to work. For this, a car for transportation is critical. But once you get to work, it’s all about sleep. Deep sleep on a consistent basis can you help you be more creative, productive, confident and efficient. It can expand your vision and focus your energies on what is most important. Your work relationships are enhanced, helping you develop trusting connections with colleagues, customers, clients and prospects. Sleep can even help you enjoy your work more. For taking your work to a whole new level, sleep is where it’s at.
For years, a nice car has been one of the ultimate status symbols. But watch out cars, sleep is becoming the new status symbol. According to Penelope Green in the New York Times: “If sleep used to be the new sex as trendspotter Marian Saltzman proclaimed 10 years ago, today it is a measure of success – a skill to be cultivated and nourished as a “human potential enhancer” as one West Coast Entrepreneur told me, or life extender.” Article link
A Healthier You
The hands down winner in this category is sleep. A car might have indirect benefits to health, like taking you to the gym or your favorite trailhead. But as far as direct benefits to your health, there is nothing like sleep. Sleep can give you more energy to exercise and it is during deep sleep that growth hormone is released, and you are able to heal and strengthen from that exercise. Sleep is also a time of recovery for the brain. During deep sleep, cerebrospinal fluid washes through brain, cleaning it of toxic waste products that build up during the day. Without good, deep sleep, your body and brain are unable to refresh, heal and strengthen. Studies have also shown that good sleep helps people make healthier food choices and may be more effective for weight loss than either diet or exercise.
Part of the American dream is to be happy and healthy and have meaningful lives with purpose. Yet, the reality is, we aren’t always happy or healthy. And that’s a good thing. It is the difficult times in our lives that deepen our character, compassion and wisdom. Some of the most difficult and challenging experiences can also be the most rewarding, like raising children. Whatever we are being challenged with in life, sleep enables us to better weather the difficult times and better enjoy the good times. And there is nothing like good sleep for enriching the everyday moments of life.
Would you like to have a better relationship with your partner/spouse, better relationships with your children, your colleagues, your friends …. sleep is key. Sleep improves your moods, your sense of humor, your ability to communicate, and perhaps, most importantly for relationships, your ability to listen. Sorry, cars, but you can’t really contribute much to this category, other than providing transportation on date night 😊.
Good sleep enhances both our ability to learn and to remember, which helps us be more effective at work or learn a new skill, language, hobby or musical instrument. Good sleep gives us the daytime ability to focus our attention on whatever we are studying and learning. And it is during sleep that these memories are consolidated – neural connections that store our short-term memories are strengthened, allowing them to become long-term memory. Read more. Too bad a car can’t help you remember where you parked it! 😊.
Nice cars are great and a lot of fun. We also need them to get to work, take our children to school and sports and the doctor. They are an essential part of modern life. But sleep, aah, sleep. Sleep is the new wonder drug, available without prescription. It enriches and improves your life in so many ways, allowing you to develop into your greatest potential. All you have to do is make it a priority in your life.
In addition to investing in a great mattress, you also need to make sure your lifestyle supports healthy sleep, incorporating such things as exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management / relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, journaling. You can also follow these steps to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.
If you are making every effort in your life to get good sleep, and sleep is still not refreshing, you may have a sleep disorder. One of the most common is sleep apnea. Make a point to see a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders, such as Dr. Ruchir Patel of the Insomnia and Sleep Institute of Arizona.
Here’s to great sleep!
Note¹: Thanks to Emma Coats for sharing this classic Pixar storyboard format.