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Op/Ed

Sleep is important and here’s why you need more of it

Sleep can be a great thing. In fact, the more you get the longer your life will be -that’s a pretty neat thing!

Person in bed in the morning

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and freelancers, listen up: sleep is important and you need more of it.

We all know how important sleep is, but we try to ignore it anyway. New research from neurologist Matthew Walker states quite plainly that if you get less than seven hours at night you put yourself at higher risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart attacks, strokes, and several different kinds of cancers. If seven hours feels indulgent, read on.

Walker, a sleep scientist at the University of California, has written a new book entitled Why We Sleep in which he discusses the biological mechanisms of the processes that allow you to drift off.

Walker also discusses all of the things that our constantly busy and interconnected lives do to disrupt that process.

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“First, we electrified the night,” Walker said in a quote to The Guardian. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commute times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead.”

Another thing killing our restfulness at night? Our attitudes towards catching z’s.

Walker said that there is a strange increasing stigma around sleep, and that many consider it “lazy and shameful.”

Considering that so many problems arise from lack of sleep such as impaired functioning, amplified risk of diseases, weight gain, and mental health issues, a more appropriate attitude toward this necessity needs to be taken.

Entrepreneurs and business owners may have a hard time cutting themselves slack whenever choosing their bedtime, but in order to continue to operate at peak efficiency, bedtime must be a priority.

Here are some easy tips from sleep scientists to incorporate into your bedtime routine:

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First: no all-nighters. They totally wreck your ability to function and make you as cognitively impaired as a drunk person.

Secondly, try to set a bedtime alarm every night so you can train your body to have an appropriate slumber pattern, which will help your ease of sleeping in the long run. Another easy tip is being super strict about the “no screens” rule before bed, as the light emitted from our devices blocks melatonin (the sleep hormone) from secreting in the brain.

It may be hard to leave that email for another day, but your brain will thank you for it as you drift off to dreamland.

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Written By

Alexandra Bohannon has a Master of Public Administration degree from University of Oklahoma with a concentration in public policy. She is currently based in Oklahoma City, working as a freelance filmmaker, writer, and podcaster. Alexandra loves playing Dungeons and Dragons and is a diehard Trekkie.

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