#217 Sleep: Before + After Edison

Know How Much Your Great Grandparents Slept?

Think back to life around 150 years ago. It’s 1875.

No iPhones. In fact, no phones at all. Just telegrams. (Alexander Graham Bell won’t get his patent for the phone until 1876.)

No cars. We cruised around on horses with no a/c.

And… We had no lightbulbs. Just candles and gas lamps.

A slightly different world, eh?

(Take a moment to imagine that. It’s mind-boggling how far we’ve come and how easy it is to take it all for granted.)

Enter: Thomas Edison.

On December 31, 1879, he flipped the switch on the first public display of an incandescent lightbulb and our world changed in countless ways.

Let’s count one way: Sleep.

Guess how many hours your great-great grandparents slept during an average weeknight. 8 hours? 9 hours?

How about up to 10 hours. TEN!!!

Today? Today the average American gets 6.7 hours of sleep. That’s a SHOCKING drop.

Millions of years: Up to 10 hours of sleep.

Last 150 years: Plummeted all the way down to less than 7 hours of sleep.

That’s just not natural. Nor is it healthy.

You’ve gotta (!) know that, in the words of Sara Mednick, “Studies have conclusively linked sleeplessness to irritability, anger, depression and mental exhaustion.”

So… Today’s +1.

Take a moment and think back to the days before Thomas Edison and his brilliant team gifted us with the power of light. Feel into a life without blue light beaming at you from a screen in the middle of the night.

Of course, we don’t need to become luddites and throw away all the technology. But, let’s be smart Optimizers and use our technology wisely.

What will you do today to prioritize your sleep just a little more and make your great-great grandparents proud?

Get on that. I look forward to high fiving a well-rested version of you tomorrow morning! 😃

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