There is a certain irony in that I started writing this at 7 in the morning on the first days of my vacation. A day that I could have slept in. A day that did not require an alarm or having to be anywhere at any particular time. It didn’t turn out that way. As I’ve written before, I am an early riser, no matter the day. I’ve been thinking about sleep quite a bit lately. I wish I could say I’ve been dreaming about it. That would require more sleep to have time to fit those dreams into my sleep schedule. I’ve been up late and up early and often interrupted in between so sleep has been in short supply, which has resulted in a foggy brain.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Ben Franklin was a smart guy, really smart actually. That doesn’t necessarily mean that his sleep habits are as valid today or that it has any foundation in fact. In fact, according to Economist Dan Hamermesh, people who earn more per hour sleep less than others. He suggests this is because the more you earn, the more willing you are to sacrifice sleep. On the other hand there is a CDC study that indicates that people earning less than the US federal level were more likely to be short sleepers (sleep less than six hours). So it seems that more sleep will make you average perhaps?
No data to support the need for an 8 hour night of sleep according to Diane Lauderdale, Epidemiologist at University of Chicago in a recent Freakonomics podcast on sleep. The National Sleep Foundation offers up a chart with suggested ranges for how much sleep we each need. No need to visit it though. It can be summed up like this. Do you feel tired and need caffeine to get through the day? If yes, you need more sleep. The National Sleep Foundation also provides some tips on getting a better sleep.
Six Tips for Better Sleep
Go to bed at the same time every night
Get your kids to bed whenever you can get them to shut up, lie down and stop asking questions. Go downstairs scoop up all the kid debris from the day and flop into bed if you can, otherwise the newly exposed floor or couch will suffice.
Establish a bedtime ritual
Drink wine while you clean up and go to bed.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. What about the wine? Click To Tweet
Does picking up toys and wrestling a toddler in to a car seat count? If so, I am all good.
Avoid naps especially in the afternoon
Presumably this doesn’t apply to short people. They should be napping all afternoon, especially in the summer.
Avoid bright light in the evening
Usually this recommendation is not just bright light, but also screen light specifically. That kind of cramps my style. How am I supposed to finish writing blog posts about sleeping better if I can’t use a computer before bed time?
Avoid alcohol in the evening
Seriously who are these people? What kind of recommendation is that? It seems contrary to the establish a bedtime routine recommendation…
So in summary:
- If you are tired and mainlining caffeine you need more sleep
- Ben Franklin slept well because he hadn’t invented electricity or computers yet
- If you want to be middle income sleep between six and ten hours a night, or maybe more than six, but ten is kind of a lot
- If you want to be wealthy or poor sleep less than six hours a night
- Drink wine while you are doing your evening exercise while picking up kids’ toys and clothes and, well everything. It might not improve your sleep habits. It will improve your patience when you step on another desiccated pea thrown on the floor during dinner three days ago.
If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends. Actually share it even if it was completely useless – it is totally hilarious when you are sleep deprived.