Are we getting enough sleep?
Source: Fancycrave. CC0
Sleep is an increasingly important part of a healthy lifestyle. When we sleep, our bodies repair themselves and our minds reboot. Our circulatory system uses sleep to rebuild damaged blood vessels, especially in and around the heart. We use extended periods of low blood pressure and a lower heart rate to clear out fat and patch up weak vessel walls. Folks with chronic sleep problems can be 50% more likely to develop cardiovascular issues, like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and even heart attacks.
Our minds need sleep, too. When we sleep, our brain cells actually shrink and allowing the excess liquid to drain and flush out proteins that have built up in the synapses between nerve cells. Those excess proteins get in the way of signals that travel from neuron to neuron. It’s hard to think when we’re tired: all the leftover waste products obstruct our neural network. It’s like our brains have a lot of clutter lying around. No wonder sleep deprivation is linked to depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health challenges.
Modern people are notoriously sleep-deprived. Chronic sleep problems affect 1/6th of the population. We watch television, we’re on our smartphones, and we check our social media profiles when we should be resting. And Americans get going earlier in the day than most other countries.
Source: Walch, Cochran, & Forger, Science Advances
Another thing that can keep us up in the middle of the night is our finances. We worry about having enough to retire or to pay for college. And the market’s gyrations don’t help. The daily media stream of media reports and Presidential tweets and geopolitical challenges can make our heads spin, and make the market gyrate and jump like a limbo dancer.
That’s another reason to have a diversified portfolio. Stable assets provide an anchor during trying times. If we “sell down to our sleep point,” we should have enough of our portfolio in cash and short-term bonds so we don’t have to worry about our net worth. But everyone’s sleep point is different. One person might have a stable university job with tenure and an outside income, so they can take a little more risk, while another might be approaching retirement and needs a structure with more guarantees. That’s the art of asset management: understanding our needs, wants, desires, and limitations and designing and executing a plan to make those dreams become reality.
Shakespeare calls sleep a balm for hurt minds, the chief nourisher in our life’s feast. He was more accurate than he realized. When we structure our finances plans, we need to make they’re something that we can live with, and – especially – sleep with.
Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service. Source: Public Domain Files
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Charter Trust Company
“The Best Trust Company in New England”