If you’re a type A personality you may be saying to yourself, “who’s she kidding, I’ll sleep when I’m dead”
Well you should consider sleeping at least 7 hours a night, and here’s why.
In Greg McKeown’s book “essentialism”, he talks about shattering the sleep stigma. Over achievers for decades have bought into the false belief that you must sleep less, and work more in order to achieve much.
Over achievers believe about sleep…
- Sleep is for failures
- Sleep is a luxury
- Sleep breeds laziness
- Sleep gets in the way of doing it all.
On the other hand, Essentialists believe about sleep..
- Sleep is for high performers
- Sleep is a priority
- Sleep breeds creativity
- Sleep enables the highest level of mental contribution.
“Essentialists choose to do one fewer thing right now in order to do more tomorrow.” – Greg McKeown
There is ample research to indicate that the recommendation is more sleep not less. Take for example a Harvard Business Review article called: “Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer” by Charles A. Czeisler, explains how sleep deprivation undermines high performance.
What does the most recent research tell us about the physiology of sleep and cognitive performance?
Four major sleep-related factors affect our cognitive performance.
- The first has to do with the homeostatic drive for sleep at night, determined largely by the number of consecutive hours that we’ve been awake. When the homeostatic pressure to sleep becomes high enough, a couple thousand neurons in the brain’s “sleep switch” ignite, as discovered by Dr. Clif Saper at Harvard Medical School. Once that happens, sleep seizes the brain like a pilot grabbing the controls. If you’re behind the wheel of a car at the time, it takes just three or four seconds to be off the road.
- The second major factor that determines our ability to sustain attention and maintain peak cognitive performance has to do with the total amount of sleep you manage to get over several days. If you get at least eight hours of sleep a night, your level of alertness should remain stable throughout the day, but if you have a sleep disorder or get less than that for several days, you start building a sleep deficit that makes it more difficult for the brain to function.
- The third factor has to do with circadian phase—the time of day in the human body that says, “it’s midnight” or “it’s dawn.” A neurological timing device called the “circadian pacemaker” works alongside but paradoxically, in opposition to the homeostatic drive for sleep. This circadian pacemaker sends out its strongest drive for sleep just before we habitually wake up, and its strongest drive for waking one to three hours before we usually go to bed, just when the homeostatic drive for sleep is peaking.
- The fourth factor affecting performance has to do with what’s called “sleep inertia,” the grogginess most people experience when they first wake up. Just like a car engine, the brain needs time to “warm up” when you awaken. The part of your brain responsible for memory consolidation doesn’t function well for five to 20 minutes after you wake up and doesn’t reach its peak efficiency for a couple of hours. But if you sleep on the airplane and the flight attendant wakes you up suddenly upon landing, you may find yourself at the customs station before you realize you’ve left your laptop and your passport behind.
I encourage you to read the full report here.
Good ol mom told us, we must sleep to rest our bodies. However, recent research is showing sleep is more about the brain. Getting a full night sleep may actually increase brainpower and enhance our problem-solving abilities.
To ease your self into getting more sleep try these tips.
- Schedule bedtime. Go to bed each night and get up each morning at the same time, 7 days a week. This helps the natural rhythm of your body stay consistent which causes deeper sleep.
- There is no such thing as catching up on your sleep, so commit to your bedtime schedule.
- Avoid caffeine after noon. This is essential for a restful nights sleep.
- Make sure when lying down, your pillow supports your head and neck so it aligns with your spine. This simple pillow adjustment will avoid those neck pains!
Tweet this!Sleep will enhance all facets of your life, health and performance..make it your priority!
Now it’s turn…are you someone who strives for 7-8 hours of shut eye…or are you a night owl barely getting 5 hours? Leave your comments below. AND if you have tips for getting a good night’s sleep…leave ’em below too!