I know what you’re hoping this is about. But we’re actually talking about sleep this week.
And seriously, sleeping is the best. Odds are you’re not doing enough of it, and that’s hurting you beyond the fact that it’s just a fantastic thing to do.
We live in a culture that celebrates burning the candle at both ends. We say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” as a badge of honor. Problem is, you might be doing the “big sleep” sooner if you don’t sleep well while you’re alive.
If you’re really interested in peak performance, you need to make sleep part of your optimization process. It’s simply that important, but it’s the one thing modern people seem to do uniformly badly.
The research-backed benefits of better sleep are almost too many to list: you’ll avoid many serious diseases, manage chronic pain, lower your risk of injury, enhance creativity, elevate your mood, maintain a healthy weight, think better, improve your memory, and build your immune system.
If you’re bummed that this piece isn’t about sex, sleep helps with that, too (and vice versa). According to the National Sleep Foundation, 26% of people say that their sex lives tend to suffer because they’re just too tired. And for women, more sleep makes sex happen more often.
But it really gets interesting from an evolutionary standpoint. Why do we need this huge waste of time called sleep, given that at one point it made us more likely to become a midnight snack for lions and tigers and bears?
Research shows that sleep is critical for maintaining brain function. As we sleep, the brain is eliminating the waste that accumulates in the course of daily life. If this doesn’t happen efficiently, your mental clarity and performance suffer in a big way.
So, if you’re trying to get ahead by sleeping less and working more, the science says you’re actually accomplishing less, badly. Instead, sleep more and call it an essential aspect of your job … because it is.
If you have persistent trouble sleeping, it’s trickier. Constant insomnia can lead to an earlier demise, which makes it task number one to correct.
While the Dali Lama says that sleep is the best meditation, meditation also leads to better sleep. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you’ll likely try anything to get to sleep, and meditation can become your gateway to the multitude of additional benefits that mindfulness delivers.
So tough guy or gal, you’re trying to beat the competition? It would really suck to lose to someone who also enjoyed a great night’s sleep the night before … and you probably will.
- Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep
- Goodnight. Sleep Clean.
- Persistent insomnia linked to higher risk of death, study finds
- 9 Surprising Reasons to Get More Sleep
- Women Who Sleep More Also Have More Sex, a New Study Finds
Yes, you should sleep more. But not right now. Let’s move on before my rambling gets you drowsy.
The best defense against a declining mind? Keep your body in the best shape possible. “As the body becomes healthier, and stays vibrant longer, research suggests that the mind stays healthier, as well.” The Longevity Paradox.
More free PR in advance of the launch of Apple Watch: The Quantified Self: How Cold, Hard Data Improve Lives: see how people monitoring things ranging from insulin injections to body measurements to their mood use cold, hard data to live better lives.
Falling into a fitness rut? The smartest thing you can do is mix things up. “That might mean adding yoga if you’re a runner, trying Tabata or changing the number of reps or the grip on your dumbbells.” On the nutrition side, however, mixing things up with “cheat days” may not be as good an idea – Are Cheat Days Actually Hurting Your Health?
Everyone wants to be the expert, the one who has all the answers. But the secret to innovation and subsequent wealth may be in getting back to asking more questions. From Harvard Business Review: Relearning the Art of Asking Questions.
“Our parents want safety for us, not excellence.” Thought provoking ideas about breaking free from our own upbringings, and also how we might raise our own children: Why do your parents push you to be mediocre?
Hiring the right people is perhaps the most critical task for an entrepreneur or manager: 3 Rules From Richard Branson for Hiring Remarkable People. If you’re more interested in getting hired than hiring, here’s a great infographic – The Do’s and Don’ts of the Modern Resumé.
I approve this message: “Playing with your own notion of yourself is akin to flirting with future possibilities. Like in all forms of play, the journey becomes more important than a pre-set destination.” Self-Improvement is Something to Be Enjoyed.
Back to the sleep thing: “A power nap of under an hour can improve memory performance by five times, a new study finds.” How To Improve Memory Five-Fold in 45 Minutes.
Real Success Starts with Real Expectations: “Research shows that your ability to persevere is directly correlated to your likelihood of success. Those who can hang in there when things get tough, studies show, are the ones who regularly succeed.” Baby steps for the win.
That’s it for this week, brought to you from sunny Laguna Beach. Yes, I wrote this issue at seaside, and I learned that sand is not a friend to my Mac Air.
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