samtolman_headshot

Boasting about your choice to sacrifice sleep makes you look like an idiot. Not just because I’m saying it, but because of objective, backed by data, science. The personal preference of not getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night can be detrimental to your emotional stability, result in weight gain and impair your basic brain functions.

As if the side effects of sleeplessness aren’t enough, we’ve glorified boasting about our choice to sacrifice sleep for something else. We’ve made out selecting not sleep as a demonstration of our unwavering passion for school, work or something else. All it truly does is glorify inadequacies of not taking care of ourselves, and putting pressure on others to do the same.

There are way too many emotional nerve endings out in the world, and you don’t need to add to the already highly-sensitive culture we currently live in. However, not having enough sleep inhibits your emotional intelligence, which helps you to perceive emotions correctly and direct your behavior in an appropriate manner. Basically, when you choose inadequate sleep, you willingly embrace having the emotional capacity of a three-year-old.

At least three-year-olds are cute, in part, because of their chubbiness. However, the same probably won’t be said about you and your newly gained weight due to sleep deprivation. Not sleeping enough makes it harder for your body to burn the calories and fats you are digesting. Tied in with poor emotional regularity, this also makes it harder to control your food intake. Essentially, less sleep equals more body fat, and, with your newfound emotionally instability, this won’t serve you and others well in the long run.

Perhaps you won’t realize how you’re slowly becoming unhappy since not lack of sleep also inhibits your basic brain functions. Such important daily activities as problem solving skills, creative thought, and stress management become crippled with seven or less hours of sleep. According to a University of Rochester study, when you’re asleep, your brain works to remove toxic proteins from itself. However, it is unable to do this while you’re awake, and the greater the buildup of these toxic proteins, the worse it is for your mind.

Not all sleepless nights happen by choice. Issues like anxiety, an overabundance of school work or insomnia are just a few major contributing factors to not being able to sleep. However, these are generally not choices people make to be part of their lives.

Next time you’re hanging out with friends and one of them gloats about their lack of sleep, understand what they’re advocating for – becoming a dumber, fatter cry baby of a person and putting reciprocal pressure on others to be this way as well, because, as the author John Ray once wrote – misery loves company. 

Understanding how unhealthy it is to perpetuate this sacrificing of sleep for some greater good as the norm, we should all be motivated to stop people from celebrating it, and become an advocate for what should be far more obvious: getting some shut eye.