Last year, I spent 7.56 hours in bed each night. I don’t have a way to measure actual sleep time so time in bed was the closest thing to a sleep indicator I had. This year, I wanted to try and get it to at least 7.8 hours per night this year as part of my resolutions. So far, I’m doing well at 8.06 hours per night. However, anything based on time means time for something else is being sacrificed for it. But how much time am I talking about here, in the long run, rather than just a half hour per night? When I did the math, it was a little smack in the face, even though I don’t have any regret about it given sleep is the most important thing one can do for one’s health.
Supposedly, we dream four to six times per night. Remembering, them, though, is a different matter. I’m not talking about remembering them in super details, or a long time. I’m just talking about realizing you had a dream when you wake up, whether you could only say a few words about it like something that was involved, or describe it in detail. For dream memory, the going rate seems to be one or twice a week, though the distribution is rather diverse, which is why the rate is once or twice, a 100% margin of error essentially. That’s all great to know, but it has no context for the individual, like me. As a result, with my daily activities tracker that I use to track my performance towards my many resolutions, I had decided to track my dreaming as well.
After having shared my Resolutions Planning Workbook yesterday, I thought I’d show an example of how I use it through a couple of resolutions I just committed to in 2021.
These resolutions are about sleep, both going towards getting what I deem to be enough sleep, but done in a consistent way rather than binging catch-up sleep periodically. The body can’t fully catch-up on shortage of sleep to get the same benefit as if the same amount of sleep had been spread out evenly. Lack of sleep on many days also means one can’t be as fully alert and present as if with good sleep, to bringing the same energy to things, all else being equal, to life, whether to activities and/or to other people. That energy is about as fundamental a thing as a person can bring to life to live it best, and sleep is, without doubt, the most effective way to fuel that, even more important than the equivalent food deprivation. That’s how important sleep is once you understand what the latest research tells you, and that’s why it’s worth two resolutions to me, with that goal of sufficient sleep (around 7 hours a night to minimize cognitive decline) consistently, being my number one goal of the 2020s. So with that background in mind, here are my notes for the two goals. I will make the headers of one goal red, and the other blue, to denote the difference.
For Week 4 of the Science of Well-being course, the rewirement was to get more sleep, like maybe an extra half hour each night. More sleep, to some degree of sufficiency or a little excess, will boost your mood. Chronic lack of sleep also shortens your telomers, or ends of your DNA, that shortens lifespans, supposedly. It’s just not a good thing, let’s just say.