The 8-Hours-A-Night Challenge
I just read an article about a study that found that women actually require more sleep than men! The purpose of sleep is to allow your brain time to rest and recover, and because women tend to multi-task more than men (thus using more of their brain during the day) they need more sleep. But the most unnerving finding of the study was this ::
We found that for women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger. In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men.
This reminded me of a fascinating study about sleep testing in the opposite direction. Most people know that performance drops with less sleep, but if you get more sleep than you need will you actually become a better version of yourself? One researcher tested this hypothesis on Stanford’s basketball team ::
The results were startling. By the end of the extra-sleep period, players had improved their free throw shooting by 11.4 percent and their three-point shooting by 13.7 percent. There was an improvement of 0.7 seconds on the 282-foot sprint drill—every single player on the team was quicker than before the study had started.
A 13-percent performance enhancement is the sort of gain that one associates with drugs or years of training—not simply making sure to get tons of sleep.
Isn’t that nuts? Not only does not getting enough sleep greatly reduce your resiliency, but getting more sleep will actually improve your mental and physical activity! It seemed a no-brainer to make this month’s challenge a sort of “sleep more” challenge. In fact, the challenge will be to sleep for 8 hours per night for 7 days in a row. Pick any 7 consecutive days this month and get your head on a pillow and brain asleep for 8 hours each night.
My only tip is to remember that your best chance at this is not to sleep in later, but to go to bed earlier.
What do you think? Can you complete The 8-Hours-A-Night Challenge? You have until April 1. Good luck!
(Top photo found here)