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Are You Sleeping Too Much?
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Too much sleep can be a waste of time

We all need sleep in order to survive. And some of us need more sleep than others do. But have you really experimented to find out how much sleep you need to be at your creative best? Although many people aren’t getting enough sleep, you may find you are spending more time in bed than necessary. Some people claim they are more lethargic if they sleep in. Inertia sets in and they just can't seem to get going. If you sleep in on Saturdays or Sundays, how do you feel when you get up? Do you spring out of bed ready to take on the world, or do you have to ease your way out of bed, stagger around the house for an hour in your pajamas, and finally force yourself to take a shower and get dressed before the morning has completely vanished?

If your reaction on the weekends is closer to the latter scenario, it's probably because you have had too much sleep. (Or you have overextended yourself the night before!) Consider what sleep is costing you. In general, it's costing you one third of your life. If you live to be ninety, about thirty of those years will have been spent sleeping! And it's hard to classify sleep as the most memorable years of your life. Unfortunately, sleep is a necessity of life. We cannot add thirty years to our life by eliminating sleep. But suppose we were to sleep one hour less each night. That adds up to over two full weeks per year. In twenty-five years we will have added a full year to our waking life. Imagine what you could accomplish in a full year of uninterrupted time! And it would be uninterrupted time because how many distractions are there at six or seven o'clock in the morning?

Perhaps you could only eliminate a half-hour of sleep each day. That would still provide you with an additional 183 hours each year. Can you imagine what you could accomplish at the kitchen table in that amount of time? You could write a book every year, remodel the house, or dispense with all the paperwork you receive. Or you could eliminate the late nights at the office or that Saturday overtime.

In order to find out whether you are sleeping longer than necessary, try this. Set your alarm to go off ten minutes earlier tomorrow morning. Force yourself to get up the moment it goes off. No cheating! After about a week you will have made it a habit. Then set the alarm to go off another ten minutes earlier. Get up at this new time continually for another two weeks. If your energy level does not appear to have suffered set the alarm yet another ten minutes earlier. You will now be getting up a half-hour earlier each morning. If there are adverse effects, you can switch back. But you may find that this new time does not affect you in the least.

The important thing now is to use that extra half-hour for something of value to you. To waste it on TV, newspapers, or a longer shower (if you are already spending adequate time on those things) is counterproductive. Set yourself an ongoing project in the morning. It could be reading correspondence, writing an article, researching a report, or working on a household project that you have been putting off.

By extending your waking hours with no detrimental effect on your health, you have actually extended your lifespan, your waking lifespan, that is.


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