Have you ever considered building your weekly schedule by first blocking time for sleep? Start with the base number of hours. Then add additional time for your brain to process any extra work it has had to do. And then, since research has shown that sleep isn’t just for your brain, adding yet more time as you add other physical demands to your schedule.
This type of scheduling can seem a bit backwards and even daunting, but if you are looking for reasons to justify prioritizing sleep in your life, check out Matt Walker’s TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/matt_walker_sleep_is_your_superpower?language=en. In it he provides some information on the benefits to be gained, or I suppose you could interpret it as the negatives that can be caused by not getting enough sleep.
In another talk, Jeff Iliff details another important aspect of sleep, specifically the important role that sleep has in enabling the cerebrospinal fluid between the brain cells to clear out waste products. Waste products that an accumulation of has been associated with the development of Altzheimers disease. https://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_iliff_one_more_reason_to_get_a_good_night_s_sleep?language=en
There are studies which link muscle exertion to sleepiness through the production of Bmal 1, a protein which regulates gene expression, in the muscles that may be the connection for why muscle-building requires more sleep. And other studies have shown the gastrointestinal tract, the pancreas, and fat tissue generate signaling molecules called neurohormones that appear to affect the onset and duration of sleep. Further study might identify these neurohormones as the reason why sleep is necessary for fat loss or might illuminate the correlation of sleep to natural killer cells of the immune system that Dr. Walker talked about.
Hopefully, it is clear that there are numerous reasons to take a good look at your sleep and justify the time you devote to sleep as an important aspect of your total health. Yet, even with so many great reasons, it can be hard to prioritize the value of getting enough sleep. But this is not a new challenge because the same could be said about any of those things that would be best for our health, but don’t seem urgent at the moment.
Just as you would do for the other Keys of Fitness, when you are in the role of “master” (the role when you decide your priorities and build your schedule) determine the plan for your sleep. The more specific parameters the more likely you, in the “padawan” role will be able to follow. And remember, with so many entertainment options and the level of FOMO in our society it can be hard to place the value on getting enough sleep. Be kind to yourself. The goal is to provide you with a structure that is based on your long-term priorities for your life.
As always, let me know how I can help.