One of the simplest ways to increase the amount of happiness you feel is to get more high-quality sleep. Today, I’ll be sharing the science showing why you should give up some of that precious evening time and hit the pillow a little earlier each night.
The research on sleep and mood
If you’re human, you’ve experienced first-hand the crappy days that can result after a poor night’s sleep; you’re grumpy, spacy, forgetful, annoyed or some combination. Science strongly confirms your experience and shows how sleep deprivation affects mood. For example:
Are you sleep-deprived?
Our go-go-go culture is one where we tend to stay busy and stimulated for hour after hour. It is really easy to adapt to having too little sleep; we just get accustomed to those feelings of tiredness and it becomes our new normal.
But there are some clear indicators when you need more sleep. Ask yourself these questions:
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not getting enough quality sleep.
If that’s true, what can you do?
Set yourself a bedtime
Kids need lots of sleep, so they get a bedtime. But do you do the same for yourself? Waiting until you feel tired makes it easy to get carried away by those shiny distractions — reading one more chapter, watching one more show, sending one last email or finishing one last quest/mission (you know who you are…).
We manage what we measure. Locking in a bedtime will help you keep that commitment. And if you stay up later, those feelings of being up ‘past your bedtime’ can often encourage you to get horizontal sooner than otherwise.
For those of you who regularly sleep less than 7 hours per night here is this week’s happiness challenge: For the next 2 weeks, set a bedtime that gives you a full extra hour of sleep and stick to it. Then see what happens. For many people, this extra sleep feels so good they just keep doing it. See what happens for you.
The Happiness Coach
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