July 9, 2015

Less Shopping, More Sleeping

Wake up! Go to work. Consume. Repeat until you drop.

The health promoting aspects of sleep have been underplayed by a society that doesn't want you to stop working or consuming. Go, Go, Go. 24 hour shopping. What is the saying? "You can sleep when you are dead." That's silly. It makes me sleepy just thinking about it.

Fact. You must make time for important things. Like breathing, or sleeping. No way around that. If you don't sleep it will lead to your death, eventually.

Unless you are a robot you require sleep every night. Every single night. Miss it and you will be hurting until you do get sleep. It is so vital to survival that denial of sleep is considered torture.

But how much sleep does one require for optimal health?

Conventional wisdom for years has said about 8 hours. More recent studies have shown that ten good hours of sleep per night is best. And if you can sneak in a nap somewhere during the day, that is even better.

Getting a deep, restorative sleep every night is important for many reasons. One of the most important is that your brain needs deep sleep in order to cleanse itself. Deep, dream-filled sleep.

A good sleep can make you smarter, faster and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It will put a lightness in your step, and a Mona Lisa smile on your face.

Since moving to rural Nova Scotia Linda and I have been enjoying more restful sleeps. It is very, very quiet out here in the country. Couple that with no alarm clock and what we end up with most nights is ten solid hours of rest.

In a sane world we would have less shopping and more sleeping. Glorious, restful, restorative and free sleep. 


  1. Hi Gregg,

    I agree! IN Beethoven's day (ie 1770 - 1827) the average amount of sleep people got was 10 hours per night. They didn't have tvs keeping them awake, or computers seducing them into shopping,surfing and playing when they should have been sleeping.

    Some would like to tell you that you are lazy if you get more than 7 hours - what a crazy world we live in. My body tells me loud and clear when I need more. I have certainly never felt good on the standard 8 hours. As for naps, taking at least 3 a week is great for your heart - look at those fun-loving, long-lived Ikarians.


    1. Madeleine,

      Yes! In North America if someone said they slept 10 hours a night they would generally be looked down upon. One would be accused of being unmotivated, lacking ambition and possibly depressed. We love a good workaholic story filled with lots of achievement and success (and very little sleep or time off).

      I love the Ikarians. Thank you so much for that reference. I know when Linda and I went traveling we realized how badly our own country sucked. North Americans know very little about true freedom or living "the good life".

      We passed through the island of Samos (a neighbour of Ikaria) on our way to Turkey in 2001. We loved Greece a lot, and definitely would have gone to Ikaria if we had known of their history and unique way of life.

      I found the following on a website about Ikaria:

      "Because Ikaria seems to exist beyond the normal confines of time, the Ikarians tend to live at their own pace and visitors to the island must be aware of this. For example, if a shop owner happens to wake up at 15:00 and open his/her store at 18:00, so be it. Their mentality goes, it's their life, and their store, and there is no need to live life bounded by the 'anchos' (stress) that obeying and serving others is one's prime purpose."

      Now I want to move. Linda and I would fit right in.

      Thanks again. Have a good sleep. Or nap. Or both. Zzzzzz...

    2. Hi again, Gregg,

      I think I've watched every youtube video there is on Ikaria at least 3 times! I'm deeply interested in the best way to live a good life, and in being healthy to make the most of this wonderful life I've been given. I came away from the videos realising that I had to make more time to socialise with my friends - even if the house wasn't 'visitor worthy. ' I realised that the stress of work/mortgage/kids had thrown my life way out of balance and I wanted to make amends before it was too late. I spent too little time laughing!!

      Since coming to that important realisation I have indeed spent more time with friends, and made some wonderful new friends who enjoy cooking and eating as much as I do. I've stayed up late enjoying a little organic red wine and card games without worrying about the time. When I'm not working I take my watch off. And sometimes I just close my eyes and take a nap :)

      A book I think you would love - forgive me if I've referenced it before - is Ikaria, Lessons on Food, Life and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die by Diane Kochilas. Aside from the mostly plant-based,delicious recipes, there is plenty of information about the culture and way of life. Everything from how they garden, naturally dry foods, socialise, collect their own sea salt, make a good cup of coffee, the herbs they use as medicine etc...

      As you can imagine, their diet is about as locally grown, in season and natural as you can get. The food is delicious and wonderful to share. Most importantly, it has reconnected me with what is most important in life. Since reading the book I added to my garden - lemon trees, olive tree, hazelnuts, more herbs etc...I wanted to be just like an Ikarian and walk out my back door into the abundance and goodness of nature.


    3. I see why you and Gregg are so excited about these folks! WOW!


  2. 10 hours a night minimum for me and a good long afternoon nap! I've always required a lot of sleep and been criticized for it on many occasion. My ex-husband was the never sleep, never take time off type. Now he has stress related illnesses and I'd imagine he wished he had taken the time to relax and rest!

  3. Miss Marla, Interesting that you mention being criticized for sleeping a lot! Me too! A minimum for me to function fairly well is a solid 8 hours, 9 to 10 hours is optimum. That seems to bother some people who brag about being fine with only 4 to 6 hours sleep and look like they are about half dead. I'm delighted to hear about new research saying 10 hours is best.

    I get adequate sleep now, but it hasn't always been that way. I have been severely sleep deprived. It is a miserable state to be in because nothing fixes it quickly. It is worse than being very tired and burned out. A few weeks off with lots of sleep can't cure it. It causes one to be in very dangerous situations because judgement is so impaired. It took a year of sleeping almost around the clock to recover. Sleep is a high priority in my life now.
    I had a sleep study done one time. Not doing that again.

    1. I did a sleep study twice, didn't sleep a wink either time.

  4. Agreed. Not getting any sleep can actually affect your finances too! Think about it, when you get sleep you are ready to work the next day...and if you don't, it's hard to do anything.

    1. It's a vicious circle. There is no substitute for sleep.


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