The Chimes

Corey’s Corner: The sleep factor

President Corey explains sleep does not make you weak, but is meant for the week.

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Corey’s Corner: The sleep factor

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Zion_Studios

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Zion_Studios

Zion_Studios

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

President Barry Corey

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This story was originally published in print on Jan. 31, 2019. 

Every year I have a comprehensive physical. This past year, my physician was happy with my health results. If you do not mind my saying so, the bloodwork and the cardio tests and the reflexes and the strength measurements were pretty decent for a 57-year old. She actually told me that statistically I had the health of a 52-year old. I will take those five years of credit. The past year I have been eating better on most days, exercising more regularly and managing the stress that comes with life. Some of my disciplines seeming to be paying off.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION CAN UNDUE PROPER DIET AND HEALTHY EXERCISE

On the first page of the multi-page report, the good doctor wrote one word: sleep. Her admonition to me was clear in our follow-up conversation. Even though all my numbers were right between the uprights, I needed to get more sleep. Only six hours a night can undo my dietary discipline and fitness gains.

As for those occasional short nights, she encouraged me that all is not lost. Sleep is cumulative. If I deprive myself of sleep for some reason—a plaguing issue or a red-eye flight steals my rest—I can make it up later in the week by sleeping longer.

In other words, she was telling me that sleep debt can be squared. For instance, if you cheat yourself out of solid sleep by sleeping seven hours instead of eight for two nights straight, tack on two more hours of sleep the third night to catch up—or grab a long afternoon nap. You need your sleep. Do not minimize what your body needs and how you need to spend a third of your life.

When I am not getting the amount of sleep I need, I notice that I am more glum about life, more irritable as a husband, lethargic during the day, less alert, unnecessarily stressed, forgetful and sometimes moody—looking like a defeated mixed martial arts competitor right out of the ring. But when plenty of sleep is supplemented with nutritious food and a good workout four times a week, these testy traits fade away and my bludgeoned eyes regain their sparkle.

That is why some of you have heard me offer you morsels of unsolicited advice. I have told students to make sure you are eating healthily, increasing your heart rate through regular vigorous exercise and getting enough sleep. It is good for you.

SLEEP IS THE NEW COOL

Other unsurprising benefits of sleep I have come across in my googling include losing weight, lowering risk of depression, falling sick less frequently, reducing the likelihood of cancer or heart disease and getting along better with people. These are worthy side effects of a good night’s sleep.

Biola students, it is still early in the semester. No need for all-nighters. Sleep depravity is not a bragging right. Crawling into bed early is not a sign of weakness. Staying up longer will not overcome guilt-ridden FOMO. Sleep is the new cool, as cool as the other side of your pillow. Speaking of sleep, it is eight o’clock at night as I am typing these words. I am good for another two hours. Then I will find my pillow. Good night.

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