I’m not a morning person – and working from home has spoiled me completely. With no commute and no reason to put any effort into my appearance, I’ve gained an extra two hours into my sleep routine thanks to remote working.
However, the ability to sleep for 9+ hours every night had turned me into a sloth. Instead of waking up feeling energized, I’d been scrambling to get to my desk and get to work.
Not being able to avoid the temptation to just snooze a few more minutes each morning meant I had been waking up constantly behind.
So, I decided to challenge myself to sleep less, and see if it had any effect on my productivity. Here’s what a work week of sleeping six hours (or less) looked like for me.
When my alarm sounds at 6 am, I’m immediately confused. It takes a few seconds, but I remember that this is day one of my experiment, and I need to make good on following through with it.
I sleepily get out of bed, make some coffee, turn on my computer and force myself to get ahead on a few minor tasks.
By 8 am, I’m actually ahead of schedule work wise, and decide to treat myself to a morning talk show – something I’m rarely ever awake early enough for, let alone have the time to watch.
The rest of the day goes pretty smoothly, and I end up calling it an early night…which means I’m going to have to set my alarm even earlier the next day.
I wake up at 4 am, and don’t have much motivation to do anything. I make breakfast, have two cups of coffee, and catch up on emails. Around 6:30 am, I decide to take a walk and see what’s going on in the neighborhood.
I catch the sunrise on my walk – something I also haven’t seen in ages. By 8 am, it feels like lunch time to me, so I make myself a sandwich and start working.
By 3 pm, I’m fighting off the urge to take a nap. I’ve luckily gotten most of my day’s work done though, so I force my way through the rest. In order to try and avoid another way too early morning, I keep myself awake until 11 pm, then set my alarm for 5 am.
This was probably the hardest day to stay committed. Though I was awake, I stayed in bed for an hour and a half scrolling through social media. My brain felt tired, as did every part of my body.
At 7 am, hunger finally motivated me enough to go to my kitchen and make something to eat. I decide that since I have time, I’m going to go all out and make pancakes from scratch. That breakfast backfires in a big way, because by 10 am I’m ready for a nap. I’m barely making it though the work on my plate and am struggling to keep my eyes open.
I wonder if I’m going to be able to make it through the rest of this experiment. I chug some Yerba Mate around 4 pm, and thanks to a new TV series a friend recommended, actually make it until 12 am that night. This means I don’t have to wake up until 6!
I catch myself making mindless mistakes. Luckily, I catch them early enough that they’re fixable – but knowing that they wouldn’t have happened if I had more sleep – it’s hard not to beat myself up over them.
When I get to the end of this work day, all I want to do is get in bed and sleep for 12 hours straight. I seriously contemplated giving up at this point, what’s one less day in the experiment, right? But I’d committed to this, so I say up until 11 pm, and set my alarm for 5 am.
Work wise, sleeping six hours each night had decimated my productivity and attention to detail. But day five was when the emotional toll of the lack of sleep really set in.
I found myself moved to tears over the smallest asks – like a revision on a draft, or a last-minute meeting I wasn’t anticipating. Simple things that would normally not be a big deal at all suddenly felt overwhelming and impossible. I get through the day’s deliverables, put off whatever I can until Monday, and pass out by 8 pm.
In short, I would not recommend sleeping for only six hours for five consecutive nights to anyone. But this experiment did teach me just how important getting the recommended amount of sleep per night really is.
Though I would never do it for as long as I did here, seeing my neighborhood wake up and having the advantage of extra time in the morning is something that I did enjoy. But I’ll likely do it once per week, not every day of the week moving forward.
Although it seems too good to be true, taking a bath can not only help melt away stress and anxiety, but a new study shows that taking a bath at lease four times a week can help lower blood pressure, and prevent other type 2 diabetes risks.
The study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The researchers analyzed roughly 1,300 adults with type 2 diabetes to see how hot baths impacted their metabolic health.
The subjects were divided into three categories:
- A group that bathed more than four times per week;
- A group that bathed one to four times per week;
- A group that took less than one bath per week.
Ultimately, those who bathed more showed a decrease in body weight blood pressure and glycated hemoglobin – all of which can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
The people who saw the best results all took baths four times a week for an estimated 16 minutes per bath. The study also says that regardless of weight or gender, those who bathed four times a week or more all had the same positive results.
Other health benefits
Bathing has been linked to other health benefits besides lowering blood pressure.
- Improved heart health
- Breathing easier/opening up the sinuses
- Hormonal balance
- Relaxing muscles, joints and bones
This is not to say that bubble baths will 100% prevent or cure diabetes.
However, baths have been shown to help with mental health and are a fun way to relax. Potentially lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes just happens to be a nice perk!