Sleep: Sleep is the cornerstone of my health. I will set aside seven hours a day for sleep, every day, even if I don’t sleep the entire time.
The first holistic habit on my list is sleep and getting enough of it. Through much experimentation, I have found that seven hours a night is my optimal amount of sleep. I need to be in bed that many hours to feel rested the next day. Obviously, I am not asleep that whole time, but this is the amount of rest that I have found to lead to the most productive days.
When I sleep less than seven hours, I can manage with some caffeine, but by the afternoon I get headaches and will have lost focus. In general, on days where I am functioning with only five or six hours of sleep, it is hard for me to focus and I am also irritable and can find myself saying things that I will regret.
When I sleep eight hours or more, I do not feel refreshed. I find myself feeling lethargic throughout the day.
Getting enough sleep is something personal for everyone. Some people I know need eight or nine hours of sleep to function well throughout the day. If they tried to reduce their sleep time to seven hours, they would be in the same position as I am with six hours. Therefore, their productivity suffers. The same can be said of those special people (who I am truly jealous of) who only need five or six hours to function well. If they slept more, they might not function as well.
Many sleep studies show that most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep. It is rare that someone only needs six hours of sleep for the maximum benefits. It is my opinion that it is better for one’s productivity during the day to get nine hours of sleep, if that is their requirement, rather than trying to push through with only six hours.
My advice is to find your optimal sleep time. Test out sleeping more and less and see when you feel better. Maybe sleeping a half-hour more or less than you do right now will have a positive impact on your productivity.
Remember, sleep is a foundation for good health. All the exercise in the world is useless if there is not proper rest to recover, and it is better to work six focused hours than nine scatterbrained hours.