This article is more of an after experience journal of my memory and sleep loss experiment than a thoroughly researched blog entry, like the rest of our blog entries.
Yesterday we gave our presentation on our 4-day experiment on memory and sleep loss to the FAN club breakfast for the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce. The room was full, and the presentation garnered a lot of attention. Many of the people in the place could see themselves in the results of the sleep loss and memory loss. The presentation was a success in all ways we meant it to be, BUT there in the video was a hidden little gem that I only saw when I viewed the video from an outsiders point of view. About 4 minutes into the 10-minute video blog, I made a statement about productivity and how it was nice to get so many things done by staying up late. This view was not the subject of the video, the subject was about how quickly memory loss happens when you lose sleep, but when you stop to think about it, why would people stay up so late and miss so much sleep? PRODUCTIVITY.
I know to many of you that it’s obvious, that the one main reason to lose sleep is to be more productive, but to us, as a team, that point was not something we thought about. We were thinking of a WHAT happens with sleep loss, not WHY we would choose to lose sleep. Our entire discussion was on the WHAT happens, with little to no focus on the WHY.
WHY we want to lose sleep is the topic I want to discuss today.
We all have so many things to accomplish. I know myself as a business owner I have daily to-do lists that never end. I struggled a whole lot at first to leave the store and find a balance between life outside and the business. I still work a 50 hour week, but nowadays it is balanced with an in and out of work mentality.
For many of you, the struggle continues. You need to finish this so that you can get to that. You see the light at the end of the tunnel and work harder to get to it, OR you don’t see that light and work hard to see it at some point. I get it. I understand, and for the most part, I say in the words of Jocko Willink, “Get after it!” BUT, there is a line that you need to draw, a wall you need to have, and it is sleep has to happen.
I have years of first-hand experience of four hours of sleep. I worked retail for two big box retailers, and it had to be done to succeed. I know that sacrifice is needed in order to succeed. Trust me when I tell you that I have been there. What I am telling you now though, what I am saying I have learned from that experience, is that you will not last without sleep.
Going hard without sleep can only work for you in very short periods. In all reality, you probably get one day of ability to perform at your best (limited best) with one day of sleep loss. You can kid yourself and say that you can go and go, but you need to look yourself in the mirror and watch what is happening to your focus, your weight, and your patience. Sure, you can beat the fog from sleep loss, you can beat it down like a champ with caffeine, but what you can’t beat down is the way you cannot focus on one thing for longer than two seconds without a whole lot of effort.
You lose productivity when you don’t have focus. You lose objectivity when you don’t have focus. What those both translate to is that you cannot move as fast nor can you think as clearly as necessary to be your best. When you truly are in situations where your performance is key to succeeding, you lose ground by losing sleep. You work hard like that hamster on the wheel, but you aren’t getting anywhere till you jump off that wheel and get some sleep.
Remember, student of performance and ambition; sleep isn’t a tool of the lazy. Sleep is a weapon of the performers, the winners.
I know this is an abrupt ending to this entry, but I am doing this on purpose. I want you, the reader to think about what ending you want to this. No one will convince you of the importance of sleep more than yourself.
For your review here is the link to the compilation of the daily vlog during the memory/sleep loss experiment:
About the author:
Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, professionally trained sleep stores, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.