We Need Sleep


Hi everyone,

The picture above is proof that I love cats and I also love sleeping. So this week I want to talk about sleep (I can talk about cats anytime).

We all need sleep and we need it every day. I take sleep to be just as important as food in terms of its importance to survive. Indeed, they are in the same category of basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy. Despite its importance, though, sleep is usually the part of our daily life which we cut down on if something goes unexpected. Say, we need to finish some work on a particular day. If we normally sleep for 7 seven hours a day, we will sleep 5 hours that day. We do not cut down on food as much as we cut down on sleep (though some people may). We can hang out with our friends for longer than expected at night. But it is ok because we will just have to sleep a bit less so we can make it to work the next day. No big deal. I remember many times when I was asked to cut down on sleep so I could study more.

All this means that we do not value sleep as much as we should. One could say that the workplace is designed in such a way that we do have to sleep less at times. We do not have the option of going to work late because we needed sleep. But that only highlights the problem. We have time for food during lunch such that we have a lunch break but we do not make time for sleep in the workplace generally (there are some companies that are said to have a napping time).

I have had my fair share of the ‘sleep less if needed’ mentality. One of my life goals was to sleep less so I could do more. Then, I started experimenting. I was regularly sleeping for 5-6 hours a day. But somehow I felt tired often, not to mention sleepy. Then I tried 7 hours. Still the same. 8 hours. Just perfect (for me). (9 hours-too much). Then I realized that sleeping for 8 hours helped regain my energy and be more productive. Since then, I changed my goal to ‘sleep enough so I can be more productive’. I still sleep less than I need because of external factors such as work/study but at least I try to do my best. So far, the change has had positive effects on me.

How important is sleep to you? Do you think you sleep enough? Do you tend to cut down on sleep time to do work or socialize? Is there anything we can do to make the workplace more nap-friendly? Let’s discuss.


41 thoughts on “We Need Sleep

  1. I love sleep and cats. Have 5 cats but sleep often escapes me to the point where I run on empty. I’m definitely going to work on my sleep deficiency. It’s a must! Thanks for posting. A good reminder was needed!

  2. I battle insomnia, so I have to catch it before it takes over the night. There have been times I would have given almost anything to be able to take a pillow, a blanket, and doze under a desk! One company I worked for had a “quiet room” with couches, dim lighting, etc. Fabulous idea. However, it was next to the bathrooms, that had spring hung doors that slammed, shaking the room. Everytime I’d start to rest, or doze off, BANG!
    More companies are seeing the value of rested employees – but they are rare. The ones who know that a happy and healthy employee is FAR more productive than miserable and exhausted – those are the people I want to support with my shopping, or work for.

    1. How I wish such rest-friendly work environment was our default! Maybe one day, they will be very common. Until then I guess we have to deal with our own sleep patterns.

  3. Insomniac here. I wish I could sleep. Sometimes it’s 3 hours, sometimes I am awake all night. The thing that drives me nuts are the people who have told me that maybe my body just doesn’t need as much sleep. Science proves otherwise. My body and brain need rest. A nap during the day would be amazing. I have suggested a dark room at work. Knowing it wouldn’t serve me the same purpose as other would be fine with me. If there was a comfy room where I could decompress for 15 minutes would be just as good!

    1. How long have you had it? I do not know much about this condition. Can you enlighten me? For example, is it situation-specific or continuous? Is there a way to improve the night sleep as well? If you know any good source I could check, that would be good too.

      1. I have been like this since a teenager! For me it is continuous, but it’s not unusual for someone to suffer from insomnia due to circumstances. Death in the family, deadline at work, etc. It is a challenge to improve night sleep. I’ve tried many different things from natural way to medication. Lots of products help someone fall asleep, but not stay asleep. I generally will do some research on website that have scientific support. There are some good articles on the NIH website. Good luck!

      2. I hope it gets resolved soon for you and you start getting better sleep at night! Thank you for the information and I will check the website you suggested!

  4. Workplace should never be nap-friendly except that it should not eat into the hours of solid sleep. Work while work and sleep while sleep. Unfortunately, late night works can be unavoidable.

    1. True, but I think the work hours tend to be too long for the body to go without rest. I think a 9-to-5 job is too long. There are countries in Europe and Asia that end work earlier, say at 3 pm. Then, yes, maybe napping in the workplace is not needed. But it is also true that nap-time might be manipulated, so it should probably be regulated.

      1. Hmm. As in some, as low as 28 hours a week, hoping the advantage of less unemployment and more time with family, where napping goes without saying ! 🙌
        Here or there, rest is must.

  5. I had depression and the worst part of it was insomnia. Two days without sleep make the world a really dark place. I did everything to get rid of it (insomnia and depression). There were prescription drugs that helped for periods of time, but nothing did really cure it.

    It is kinda funny story what helped. I started to play pretend. I laid at night in my bed dreading the next hours and started to pretend having magical powers and what all would I do with them. (I am 40sth y.o. :D) Funny enough, but it helped me on the regular to fall asleep. After normalization of sleep pattern depression just disappeared.

    P.S. Love your kitty and clearly agree with importance of sleep.

    1. That is a very interesting story! I am glad it worked out though! Sleep is indeed important. It is also interesting how it fixed depression.

      PS: That is not my kitty but my brother has one (I will get one too). And he is cute as hell.

  6. Cat’s are most excellent! But I agree that we as a society don’t value sleep as much as we should, the human body needs what it needs to survive and function properly. Ive always struggled with sleep but trying to get no more or less than 8 hours seems to work the best.

    Excellent read by the way 🙂

  7. Great topic, great points!

    When you send an email to a colleague at 10pm how often do you get an immediate response? We seem to admire executives who sleep 5 hours (or less :)) a night. The way to make workplaces more sleep-friendly is to change the attitude that working longer hours and always being connected/available invariably yields better results. Does it help to have a developer introduce bugs in hour 10 of their workday only to have to spend a couple of hours the next morning, when they’re “fresh”, debugging them?

    But it’s also on us. You must have seen the images that portray the difference between sleep “then” (people asleep, or at least counting sheep in the dark :)) vs sleep now, that involves a handheld device in one’s hand, on one’s pillow, or at the very least on one’s nightstand… that always connected habit in our personal lives is probably not conducive to good sleep?

    1. Very important points! T’he less sleep, the better’ is imposed as admirable, when I don’t think it is! And yes, the quality of sleep we get is changing too. I guess we have to make personal efforts to improve the situation until a collective awareness emerges.

  8. I used to have that sleep less so I can do more ideal too. It wasn’t a good thing for me. Now I don’t always sleep well. Sometimes I wake several times in the night. I really appreciate when I get a full night’s sleep though. Sleep is underrated in my view.

  9. I need 6-8 hours to sleep each day. That’s the normal amount for me. My body is kinda sensitive about sleeping hours. If I sleep less or much, there’s usually a bit trouble on my body.

  10. How important is sleep to me? If I can sleep 23 hours a day that would be nice… I do tend to sleep less to get up and draw more though so maybe that’s why I’m always tired.

  11. I love sleeping but I suffer from degenerative hip and spine conditions and chronic pain so I quite often awake several times. I think you can get used to having a certain amount of hours of sleep but I’ve found if I get a longer sleep than the 5-6 1/2 hours that I average then I just feel worse that day.

    1. I get the same feeling when I sleep more than what I normally do. I heard that it might be about sleep cycles. If you sleep 6 hours a day and that is your cycle, then you should sleep 6 hours and no more. If you will sleep more, then you should make it 12 so you can complete the second cycle. Otherwise, you feel tired because of the broken second cycle.

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