Don’t mess with Maslow…..

There are some theorists that come and go – fair weather theorists whose ideas and propositions fail the tests of time – and then there are the ones that are the real deal.

Like Maslow.

In 1943 Maslow identified the common needs each human has, placed these human needs into a natty pyramid, and then pointed out that the basic ones, on the bottom layer, had to be met before we could contemplate getting our mits on the the cool ones at the top. His theory has stood the test of time and is pretty difficult to discredit. Here’s a little reminder of the sacred pyramid, in case you haven’t seen it since secondary school.

maslows pyramid copy

And my subtle arrow aims to highlight a lesser known (I know this because I often have to prove to people it’s there) lower level need.


You ain’t gettin’ no meaning and inner potential unless you are gettin’ your sleep folks.

Now. Last week (2-8 March) was Sleep Awareness Week. But I’m sure you all knew that.

sleep awareness week

The National Sleep Foundation (USA) release their yearly sleep survey to coincide with this eminent event each year, and choose a different ‘sleeping’ focus each year for the survey. This year it was ‘Sleep and Pain‘.

The results (as most years) are quite interesting. Especially when one is interested in various aspects of sleep and sleeping as one is. While all the details are available to peruse at your leisure, and there was a focus in the survey about pain and sleep, the first key finding of the study was:

Good health was related to good sleep

Under this key finding, the research found that “those [participants] who rated their health or quality of life more highly (very good or excellent) reported getting approximately 30 minutes more sleep on average in the past 7 days than those who rated their health or quality of life as poor or fair. Those who rate their general health more highly were approximately twice as likely to rate their sleep quality as very good or excellent“.

The findings aren’t revolutionary, ground breaking, or something that we didn’t already know.

We all know that when we get a good night’s sleep we feel better. And at the other end of the logic, when we are sleep deprived, we generally feel pretty crappy. (And if you suffer pain, this exacerbates the ‘pretty crappy’ feelings).

The point is, it’s often the things that seem so obvious and that we feel we don’t need reminded about (like Maslow’s ubiquitous pyramid) that we often forget to remember – if you know what I mean.

And in case you are in need of a summary of what I’m trying to say:


So if you’ve been struggling to self actualise for a while and can’t work out why you can’t quite find that ‘inner purpose’ and meaning to your life, sleep might be the missing layer of your foundations.

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