How To Take Charge Of Your Sleep Debt

Note: This is Day 8 in the “Recharge Your Creative Batteries in 31 Days” Challenge. For the rest of July, we’ll be posting different ways for you to get yourself on the path to living in a creative flow and reaching your writing goals. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any.

As a writer who also works a day job, it can be a huge challenge to squeeze everything into your day. You have work to do, writing to get done, a family to feed, exercise, a social life…which sometimes requires you to make sacrifices.

Unfortunately, the one sacrifice most people make is usually the one thing they shouldn’t ever sacrifice.

How Much Sleep Debt Are You Carrying?

Whether you believe it or not, getting the right amount of sleep every night is so important. What’s crazy, thou, is people will actually brag about not needing sleep. It’s preposterous.

You know how you have a hard time making it through your entire day without feeling tired or wishing you could take a nap at some point? That’s your sleep debt, and it’s pretty hard to ever make it go away.

Think of it the same way you’d think of your bank account. If you take more money out than you put in, you’re going to end up in debt. Same goes for sleeping.

You expect a lot from your body, you expect it to carry you through all the things you need to do in your day. But when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not giving your body what it needs to do its job.

And the amount of sleep you didn’t get racks up and becomes what’s known as a sleep debt. A sleep debt can wreck havoc on your body, your mind and your life.

For example, my father-in-law used to deliver newspapers on top of working his regular 8-to-5 job. He got maybe four hours of sleep a night, if he was lucky, during those years. Back then, he was a totally different person. He was always grumpy, the littlest things set him off and he just wasn’t much fun to be around in general.

Fast-forward three years and he finally quit delivering papers. It’s like he’s a completely differently person. He’s happier, his sense of humor came back and he even started writing a novel!

Never underestimate what sleep debt can do to you.

There are two kinds of sleep debt–partial and total. Total means you’re like an insomniac and have a lot of trouble sleeping even a little bit.

Partial, on the other hand, is when, for example, you stay up late to finish some work and get up again five or six hours later.

While it might not seem like a big deal at first, add up the missing hours every day for a month and you’ll start to see exactly why you’re not feeling 100 percent every day of your life.

Sleep Is Imperative For Creative Beings

While it’s true that everyone needs to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night to feel and perform at their best, I find that creative people tend to need more sleep. Just look at Albert Einstein, who always said he needed at least 10 hours of sleep a night to function at his best!

Lack of sleep might be OK for someone who doesn’t create things. But for a creative person like yourself, lack of sleep can take a major toll on your creativity.

If you want to perform at your best and be the most badass creative writer you can possibly be, that requires a serious commitment to getting enough sleep.

Sure, there will be nights when you just can’t get your full 8 hours no matter how much you try. But if you aim to get a nap in whenever you don’t get a full night of sleep, and take naps whenever they’ve available to you, you can start to put some hours back into your sleep bank.

Today, your challenge is to get at least eight hours of sleep when you go to bed tonight. And to squeeze a nap in at some point today, even if it’s only for 20 minutes.

Do whatever you have to do to make both of these challenges happen.

Yes, that’s right. I’m giving you permission to sleep.

Always take advantage of every moment you have to sleep or catch up on sleep. You’ll feel like a completely new person.

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How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep?


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