My mom tells me I never wanted to sleep when I was little. Later in life, I heard one of my mentors tell me: You’ll sleep when you’re dead.
At age 30, my twins were born at 27 weeks and required me to pump breast milk and feed them every hour for the first months. Sleep was not an option.
Four to five hours a night for most of my adult life seemed to be the most I could get.
In retrospect, I can’t believe how much time I spent bleary eyed and unfocused. I can’t believe how many times I kept pushing deep into the night on work that I could have done in half the time if I tackled it the next morning when I was fresh. But like many people who go through life without enough sleep, I convinced myself that I was fine and that sleep was something I didn’t really need or a luxury I could not afford.
That is until I read Arianna’s book and had Arianna tell me, face to face, that there is no way I could keep up this pace without suffering serious physical and emotional consequences.
I have to admit I was initially skeptical. Could a few more hours of sleep really deliver the transformative wellness benefits that Arianna promised? And could I afford to lay in bed for another two to three hours a day — every day — while there was so much to do?
But Arianna is nothing if not persuasive so I decided to try it her way. Toward the end of each year, I do an Annual Vision exercise in which I write out all the goals — personal and professional — that I have for the year ahead. It is a way for me to keep promises to myself and to those around me, and in 2013, I decided to make getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night a goal.
I knew achieving this goal required a plan so I developed some rituals that worked for me. Like a lot of people, my mind races at night so I started regularly using a meditation app called Calm to quiet it down and I put my phones to bed (Thrive sells beds for your phone with sheets and everything).
My commitment — and my ability — to regularly snag seven to eight hours of sleep has been challenged like never before in 2020. I know I’m not alone in having dealt with plenty of personal and professional crises this year, and there are more nights than I’d like when I have needed an Advil PM to knock myself out.
As hard as it’s been to stick to a regular sleep schedule this year, I’m bought in. I wake up every day with the intent to sleep enough for a simple reason:
It works. It is utterly transformative.
When I sleep enough, I feel like a different person. Even though I have less time awake, I get more done because I am so much more productive. And when I am not sleeping enough, the signs are unmistakable. I lose patience easily (and already I am not a patient person). I’m sluggish. I have trouble focusing.
And after a few days of operating at less than, I know what I need to do:
Clear my schedule, clear my mind, and go to bed.
For more on the importance of sleep, check out the latest stories from Thrive Global’s Sleep Editor at Large, Shelly Ibach.
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