You start your day with it and end it, you lie down on it when you are tired, and you dream about it when you are overwhelmed by your daily duties. The bed, and more specifically how you sleep in it, affects the functioning of every cell in your body! It is your sleep that determines the regulation of hormones in your body, the way you feel physically, what mood and attitude you wake up with, and how productive you will be for the rest of the day.
“Sleeplessness management” is a model that has been sanctioned for some time in the American workaholic business culture and is slowly permeating the world. Fortunately, the next generations of leaders are changing the concept of success and the path to achieving success changes. They explicitly say that rest, private life and sleep are as important as intense work.
Sleep on the problem
Have you ever wondered why you hear that “you should sleep on the problem”? After all, the constantly diminishing time, stress-related to overdue work deadlines or the sheer volume of daily duties should be in harmony with our productivity, not the lack of it. However, it’s important to know that sleep is an extremely valuable time for the regeneration of the brain. It is crucial for efficient information processing, connecting facts and finding cause-and-effect relationships. How does it work?
During sleep, the body rests, but the brain works intensively, cleaning up all the stimuli that occurred during the day. In order for this process to run smoothly, we must go through both phases of sleep; deep, when we do not dream, and short (the so-called REM, when our eyeballs make a lot of rapid movements). It is in this second phase that the brain organises everything from the entire day and removes irrelevant information. Then, in deep sleep, memories are permanently stored in long-term memory. Such a cycle repeats itself several times a night and this is why we can wake up with a completely different view of the current problem.
Achieving success is a multi-faceted work. We are required to constantly acquire and expand our knowledge, as well as our creativity. A highly-trained imagination helps us to think outside the box, solve problems, and gain perspectives in different ways. All of these are extremely important skills in achieving the goal of success. As you might have guessed, sleep helps bring creativity to the surface, demonstrated by one of the experiments conducted by Professor Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School.
He awakened a group of students during the REM phase of sleep and asked them for associations that connect two different words. It turned out that people awakened from REM sleep, in which they dreamed intensely, gave less obvious, more casual associations than people who reported them in a state of full consciousness. This is, according to Prof. Stickgold, pure creativity in a simple form, i.e. when we juxtapose two pieces of information and find new, original connections between them. He says the REM phase is a hatchery of ideas.
There is no good relationship without sleep
Do you know that as many as 33 percent of Polish people shout at their loved ones more often when they are tired? Lack of sleep and the body’s unpreparedness for the daily challenges can have dire consequences for relationships with our partner or friends! What’s more, as many as 34 percent among this group of respondents cancel social meetings when they have slept poorly the previous night.
What are the conclusions for all this? The most important thing is that a good night’s sleep means more patience and openness with people, which are factors that are useful not only in private life but also in building business relationships.