The Habit Society

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To: Society Members

Good Morning!

We hope you had a restful sleep, full of all 4 stages with some lovely rapid eye movement! If you didn’t, we’re here to help you get those Z’s and optimize the rest of your life simultaneously.


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You don’t know how sleep-deprived you are when you are sleep-deprived. Oh and also, “the human is probably the only species that deliberately deprives itself of sleep,” – Seung-Schik Yoo. Let these sink in. Better yet – sleep on it.

We’re all trying to avoid those dreaded bags under our eyes. Not a cute look so keep reading.

Bags under Eyes

Let’s get things straight…

No, you are not one of those special people who only needs 5 hours of sleep. Dr. Thomas Roth explains, “the number of people who can survive on five hours of sleep or less without impairment, and rounded to a whole number, is zero.” Nul. Zilch. Nada.

No, you cannot catch up on sleep. Sleep expert Matthew Walker explains, “sleep is not like the bank. You can’t accumulate a debt and pay it off at a later point in time.” No matter how much you try to make up for missed hours, it’s just not possible.

And no, sleep ≠ laziness. We’re all too familiar with those “oh, well I only slept 4 hours last night” competitions. We feel that if we sleep enough, it means we’re just not that busy or successful. But as we will see, sleep is the key to success in just about every realm.


Serum Queen

Health expert Max Lugavere highlights some of the benefits of maximizing sleep, including lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, regulating hormones, speeding up metabolism, and strengthening your body. In English, this means that sleep is the ultimate anti-ageing serum (that you won’t get ripped off for). And if you try to cut sleep’s corners by sleeping for four hours or less routinely, this “can add eight years to your brain’s age in terms of its cognitive performance.” Go home, grandma.


Sleep Leaves No Man Behind

Weight… When you sleep only 4-5 hours a night, your body craves foods high in sugar and fat translating to an extra 400 calories per day. That’s 34 pounds of extra fat a year. Gasp!

Exercise… ↓ Sleep → ↓ energy → ↓ exercise and ↑ sedentarism.

Compound this with craving unhealthy foods and we’ve got the perfect recipe for weight gain.

Mental health… Sleep largely regulates our mood. A lack of it leads to a 60% increase in amygdala reactivity, a key spot for triggering anger and rage. But, we didn’t really need that data, did we? We all intuitively know how “pleasant” we are during those 4am airport mornings.

As well, people with poor sleep tend to develop depression more than those who sleep well. It can also be said that people who suffer from depression have more difficulty sleeping, but Walker believes that this is a two-way street and that sleep should be prescribed.

Productivity… The Center of Human Sleep Science at UC Berkley has shown that “shorter amounts of sleep predict both a lower work rate and slower completion speed of basic tasks.” Basically, under-slept employees are underperforming employees.

Memory… In a Harvard memory study, student volunteers stayed up for 35 hours, viewed a series of images, and then took a memory test. Compared to those who got adequate sleep, they scored an average of 19% worse when trying to remember those images two days later, even after catching up on their sleep. This is because sleeplessness impairs the ability to learn new information. For all you fellow nerds, yes – we can blame the hippocampus’ lack of activity for this one.

Immune System… Dr. Aric Prather conducted an interesting experiment where he tracked people’s sleep and then introduced a live culture of the common cold virus up their noses (they were volunteers might we add). He found quite a direct relationship where less sleep the week before facing the virus meant you were more likely to be infected and catch a cold. For those who slept five hours on average, the infection rate was almost 50% (compared to 18% for those sleeping > 7 hours). This couldn’t be more relevant in our current world. While a lot of us feel helpless in this fight, sleep is one thing we can control to keep our immune systems strong.

Mama knows best

Lugavere points out a strange, yet audacious decision made by Mother Nature. She made sure that, throughout history, even while being preyed upon regularly, we’ve spent 1/3 of our lives unconscious. It was worth risking our lives to obtain the invaluable benefits of sleep.

Insight from Max Lugavere and Matthew Walker


Some tips from sleep gurus Lugavere and Walker:

1. Be consistent: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day when possible. It may feel useful to sleep until noon on a Saturday, but this is counterproductive and will prevent you from going to bed on time once the week begins again.

2. Exercise: boosts sleep quality.

3. Only use your bed for sleep: let your brain associate bed with sleep and nothing else.

4. Avoid alcohol: it may feel like it’s easier to fall asleep after a few drinks, but it leads to mini-awakenings throughout the night leaving you feeling unrefreshed the next day.

5. Dim lights and wear blue blockers 2-3 hours before bed (avoid screens one hour before bed): bright lights make your brain think it’s morning, leading to melatonin suppression.

6. Caffeine curfew at least 7 hours before bed.

7. Don’t go to bed too full or too hungry.

8. Keep your room temperature cool: your body temperature needs to decrease in order for you to fall asleep.

9. If you’re lying in bed having difficulty sleeping for 20 minutes or if you’re starting to feel anxious, get out of bed and do something relaxing. We don’t want to associate our bed with anxiously tossing and turning.


That finding comes from a ‘global experiment’ in which 1.5 billion people are forced to reduce their sleep by one hour or less for a single night each year. It is very likely that you have been part of this experiment, otherwise known as daylight savings time. In the Northern Hemisphere, the switch to daylight savings time in March results in most people losing an hour of sleep opportunity. Should you tabulate millions of daily hospital records, as researchers have done, you discover that this seemingly trivial sleep reduction comes with a frightening spike in heart attacks the following day. […] Most people think nothing of losing an hour of sleep for a single night, believing it to be trivial and inconsequential. It is anything but.

Matthew Walker


Another obvious tip on how to get a good night’s sleep: a good mattress and pillow. Sleepenvie knows that your bed is more than a mattress, it’s a determining factor in a better quality of life. Their memory foam hybrid mattresses provide restful nights of sleep for any type of sleeper. Trust us, don’t sleep on this one!


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