Sleep on it
Whenever we have a major decision to make, we hear “Sleep on it.” No one ever says to stay awake on it. Why is that?
I don’t have the time or the desire to go into a whole post about the effects of sleep or why it’s so important, but I want to point out a few key factors. Sleep is when our brains file away important things from the day. Sleep is when our bodies heal, including from stress. Each new day brings new perspective that helps with decision making. And finally, decisions made impulsively rarely ever turn out to be the right ones.
Sleep is when our brains file away important things. This is when memories get “made.” The reason it’s better to sleep after studying for a big test is because pulling an all nighter doesn’t allow you to actually retain what you’ve studied. Sleep allows your mind to put things where they need to be so you can recall them.
Sleep is when our bodies heal. Making a big decision under stress is not a great idea. I talk a lot about the fight or flight response (probably because I think about it a lot). When stress triggers fight or flight, certain systems in the body shut down and others slow down. You want to know one of the things that slows down? Logical thought.
Each new day brings new perspective. This ties in with what I’ve already said. When you’ve rested and your brain has had a chance to file away thoughts and memories, you’ll literally see things differently when you have to make the decision.
Decisions made impulsively rarely ever turn out to be the right ones. This is partly because of the fight or flight slowing down of logical thought. I’ve made a practice of waiting to make purchases if I become excited about buying something. If my heart starts racing because I want something so bad, I stop myself and I sleep on it. If I still want that thing when I’m in a calmer (more logical) state the next day, I can make the purchase. I will add things to my Amazon cart and wait to purchase. Nine times out of ten, when I return to the cart I don’t even want the thing anymore. Money saved.
I know I offered a really oversimplified look at this, but it’s more or less just to get you thinking. I’m no expert on sleep and I can only offer some insight into how I think and act. But I will say this, “Sleep on it” is great advice.