Why one hours extra sleep is good for you and good for business!
Right now at Meta we see so many of our friends and customers suffering. You’re tired, actually forget tired you’re exhausted and the work/life balance well lets just say there’s not much balance in it at all! So what can you do about it?
Well, one of the places we THINK we can save time is by shaving time off the amount we sleep, however if we interrupt our REM sleep (which if you have 7 hours or less a night you ARE) then your mind doesn’t get the opportunity to process the information/emotions/problems from the day before, so when you wake up you’re still processing the information from the previous day. Think about that for a moment – as you read this article do you struggle to absorb the information? When you get to work, do you already feel like your mind is half full and that it won’t take much to fill it? That’s because it is!
You see because many of us are under medium to high level stress it means that the stress hormones in our body are controlling which part of our brain is activated. When we are not stressed we utilise our conscious brain (this is about 1% of our brain by the way). Its used to analyse, process and is good for making good, thought out and rationalised decisions. However when we are under the stress that most of you will be feeling right now the body shifts to the ‘fight of flight’ response and switches to use the sub-conscious part of our brain (the other 99%) that is excellent at making quick decisions (should I fight or should I take flight?), but not about thinking things through! The sub-concsious brain, although able to process things about 1 million times quicker than our conscious brain, does not have the capacity/ability to think things through and analyse the data to come up with an informed response. Its an instant YES/NO, this or that – its binary thinking. So when you think about this for a moment, it makes sense of some of the short-term knee-jerk decisions that are being make in the workplace and indeed in the wider world!
Our body requires sleep, its not a luxury, it’s a necessity! We are an amazing feat of co-operation; 60 trillion cells all working together to make us. Those cells need time to regenerate and get themselves working properly and that is why we need to sleep. We need time to absorb and process the day and to heal and regenerate at a cellular level.
In recent sleep research it has been proven that just ONE hour more sleep has an exponential effects on the body. Not only does it enable our conscious mind (that bit we use in our work day to day) to analyse, make good decisions, be more effective, process things quicker, and improve problem-solving skills. But when we get more sleep it re-activates our immune system (which for most of us is not working due to the amount of stress hormones running around our bodies which shut it down – more on that in another update) and it activates genes in our DNA that are beneficial to our health.
The study compared those that got 6.5hours sleep compared to 7.5 hours sleep, so 7.5 hours sleep is what we all should be aiming for. Personally I’m a big guy and I KNOW I need my sleep, I get at least 9hours which according to the research is what teenagers need – so I guess I’m just a big kid! However many of you will be reading this getting an average of 7 or less hours sleep. So if you want work and life to feel easier, if you’re sick of being tired, getting sick and feeling like there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done, then get yourself an extra hours sleep!
Don’t take my word for it, do your own empirical research and see what that extra hour of sleep can do for you. Ever since I found out about this I’ve been passing this information on to people that I’m working with. The response I’ve got from those that have given it a go has been really encouraging, it really does seem to work!
For more information on this check the BBC website where the programme ‘Trust me I’m a doctor’ explored this very research in a brilliant episode at the end of last year – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24444634
Have a great month,
CEO of Meta