How many of you hated it every time your parents came to you and said, “kiddo, it’s time for bed.” All of you? Some of you? I’m going to go with a lot of you.
I used to get especially irritated, still do actually, every time my mother keeps telling me, “You need to get more sleep son”, “Are you getting enough sleep?”, “Make sure you go to bed on time,” and every time I say, “Okay mom fine, now leave me alone,” I’m an adult now and she still does this to me, I mean I realise that I’ll always be a child in her eyes but c’mon.
And you know what the most irritating part of it is? She’s right. As annoying as she can be, she is right (don’t you hate it when that happens). Sleep is very important, it is especially important to people who are prone to stress, anxiety and depression. Why? I’ll tell you.
There are three important chemicals in your brain which help you function, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. When you go about your day these chemicals get used up little by little, and they are used up the most when you’re stressed out, anxious or depressed. Don’t worry though, your body re-fuels/re-charges these chemicals every time you go to sleep. But if you don’t get enough sleep, you can’t re-fuel and when you can’t re-fuel then you start to get stressed and anxious much more easily, things become bleak and your life becomes that much harder. And don’t think you can just sleep less and take small naps in between (I doubt your boss would approve), that won’t work at all. To put in perspective, just answer me this question. Going on the assumption that you own a car, would you drive around all over the place bug never fully fill the car with fuel, instead just filling it up enough so that the needle is always just above empty? That would never work, you would ruin the car and you’d end up spending more money; or get stalled when you are in a hurry to get somewhere.
You might meet some people who say that they can function just fine with just a few hours of sleep (something like 4 to 6). When it comes to these people there are 3 possibilities:
- They are lying to you and are just saying that to sound cooler and better than everyone else (you don’t by the way).
- They take drugs that help keep them stay awake like caffeine pills.
- They may be the rare type of person who actually does only need a few hours’ sleep. There are some people who have a certain genetic mutation which makes it so that they need less sleep than most other people. These types of people usually sleep much more deeply/intensely than others and hence their sleep is more restful. Unfortunately there is no way to replicate this type of sleep, it’s the type of thing that either have or you don’t.
As for how much sleep you need, I’ll let this video from the YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE explain it to you (they mention that genetic mutation I talked about earlier):
A little extra reading (if you feel like it):
When I was researching this topic I came across this article from the American Psychological Association’s website, it’s called, “Stress and sleep.”. It’s a nice detailed article that talks about how sleep and stress are connected. It’s a long article but (and I really like that they did this) the article is divided into collapsible sub topics that you can open and close at your leisure, so you don’t have to read a particular part if you don’t want or on the flip side, you can just read the part you want. You should check it out if you’re interested.
So that’s the end of the post. The next time you’re stressed beyond belief try to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and if you happen to be reading this on your phone and in your bed, get off the phone and go to sleep. Until next time good night (yes mom, I’m going to bed now).