For a long time I was told I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep without a compelling explanation why. “You need to be well rested” doesn’t exactly make me want to drop whatever I’m doing to uphold some seemingly arbitrary mandate.
Lately I’ve noticed a correlation that does make me strive for 7-8 hours: rest facilitates discipline. When I’m well rested, my willpower to maintain discipline is much higher. I’m less likely to cheat on my diet, skip the gym, and undertake new activities instead of finishing difficult ones.
Inadequate rest provokes me to settle for the path of least resistance. This manifests itself through inferior discipline. My hands dip into the cookie jar and eyes linger longer in my inbox on days I’m tired. Why? My guess is that this happens because resistance requires energy which we try to preserve. From the cost-benefit analysis we engage in to making the concerted choice to say no we’re expending energy. So when the energy bank is completely empty or running low we opt for the choice that requires less energy.
Yet no one has ever said to me “you need to get some sleep to be discipline tomorrow.”
Discipline is important to me because its the foundation of high performance in all arenas of my life. My health, effectiveness at work, moral compass, and spiritual life are all enhanced and defined by discipline.
I look at the healthiest people I know and they all share one thing in common: their lives are very regimented. An integral part of this regimen is sleep which I imagine perpetuates itself in their ability to maintain discipline. Does the same phenomenon exist amongst your network?
Note* healthy is not defined by who has the most rippling six pack.
I’ve been trying to experiment with getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep regularly. This is hard which seems weird to say. I can definitely notice a difference in not only my energy levels, but also my discipline which I’m sure are correlated.
Little things like this are why I love self-experimentation. It’s an amazing way to learn about ourselves.