For many men, sleep is just one more thing at the bottom of the list of all that needs to be done in a day. It seems like wasted time that prevents them from getting any work done. These wrong ideas about sleep keep men from tapping into the power of a well-rested mind and body.
In reality, sleeping is your most valuable activity of the day. The more you invest in your sleep, the bigger return you will see in everything else that you do. Sleep is not wasted time spent doing nothing. It is a time when your body is actively recharging itself and preparing for the next day. Sleeping well enables you to feel, think, and perform better. It allows you to maximize your time and your energy during the day. The best way to do all that you want to do is to make sure that you get the sleep your body needs.
Lack of Awareness
Many men simply don’t realize that they need more sleep. They view sleepiness as a positive sign that they must be working hard. They get used to being tired, and they think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. They believe that they just have to fight through it.
Every person has their own need for sleep. This need varies from one person to another. On average, most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested. Many men do not get this much sleep on a regular basis. As a result, they are not able to function at a maximum level of energy and concentration.
A man’s job can demand so much of his time that it doesn’t leave much room for sleep. In order to get ahead, you may feel like you have to put in extra hours at night, go in on the weekends, or be the first one there in the morning. A long commute through heavy traffic may take away even more of your free time. Even when you are away from the job, your work can consume your time. You may have paperwork that you have to finish at home. Your cell phone won’t stop ringing. Your e-mail needs to be constantly checked. Before you are even aware of it, time has flown by and it is well past your normal bedtime.
The stress and pressure of a job can also affect your sleep. Each night might be filled with worries and anxiety about what is going to happen tomorrow. Your body wants to rest, but your mind won’t stop spinning. As a result, you toss and turn in bed late into the night. Maybe you fall asleep quickly but wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. Before long, the alarm clock says that it’s time to get up and start the day.
You need to try your best to leave your work at work. As much as it is possible, don’t bring your job home with you. You need time away to relax both your body and your mind. Set boundaries and protect your personal free time. This will be very hard if you work from home. You will need to find ways to get out of the house to relax and unwind. You should also find a way to get your worries out of your system during the day. Talk to one of your buddies about them. Release them at the gym. Simply make sure that your bed is a place of rest, not worry.
Many men have schedules that are filled with much more than just work. They go to the gym for a regular workout. They play sports or go see the local teams in action. They work on the car or on projects around the house. They are involved with a civic group, fraternal order, or local church. Single men go on dates or out on the town with friends. Married men pick up the kids from practice or help them with their homework. The list of people, places, and things that can exhaust a man’s time is endless.
The key is to set priorities and balance your time. Take an honest look at your schedule to see if you are doing too much. Some things are more urgent than others. Not everything has to be done today, and not everything has to be done by you. Some things that are important can still be re-arranged so that you make better use of your time. Other things may need to be scaled back so you don’t do them as often or for so long. Still other things that are not a high priority may need to be eliminated right now. You can always come back to them if you free up more time in your schedule down the road. As you are deciding which activities are important, make sure that sleeping is one of them. Put it at the top of your list, not at the bottom.
Life is full of changes that can have a big impact upon how you sleep. Some changes you expect, but others catch you by surprise. Negative changes will tend to disturb your sleep the most. But positive changes can affect you too. Along with excitement, good changes bring new duties and stress that can keep you up at night.
- Losing a loved one
- Losing a job
- Getting divorced
- Being in an auto accident
- Having a major illness
- Having a lawsuit filed against you
- Making a bad investment
These changes can cause you to have feelings of depression. For many men, it begins so slowly that they never become aware that they are depressed. Over time, it can progress to the point where despair is just a normal part of their lives.
Depression can greatly disrupt the quality of your sleep. You might lie in bed tossing and turning late into the night. You also might sleep for a long time with no motivation to get out of bed. As poor sleep progresses, men stop taking care of their bodies in other ways. They stop eating and exercising regularly. They abuse alcohol and drugs. Overall, they may lose their usual interest and pleasure in the normal activities of daily life.
Men are more likely to keep these feelings of depression trapped inside. They don’t often deal with them openly. In some cases, these feelings one day explode in a violent outburst. Depressed men often turn this violence on themselves. Statistics show that men are four times as likely as women to kill themselves.
Many men resist seeking help from a counselor. They fear that people will think something is “wrong” with them. They need to understand that these feelings are perfectly normal. But while they are normal, they can also be hazardous to their health. If you are struggling with feelings of depression, then at least start by talking to a spouse, friend, doctor or minister. Any of them can help you decide if you need to see a counselor. Don’t fight this battle alone.