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Monday, August 20, 2012

You Snooze, You Win

Welcome back to work from fun filled weekends. For some of us they may have been sleep filled weekends in an attempt to catch up on sleep. But we should make sure we are getting enough sleep every night to maximize our performance at work each day. Because according to a study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine published in 2000, getting enough sleep helps to "bolster the brain’s ability to handle taxing mental loads." How many emails, projects, deadlines, requests from management, coworkers and clients do you have to juggle and balance each day?

"Researchers at the City University of New York, for example, gave test subjects a pair of objects and told them that they would be judged on their ability to remember them later. One group was given a 90-minute break to take a nap, while the other group spent that time awake watching a movie. Subjects came back to the testing room expecting to complete the simple memory puzzle. Researchers instead asked them to describe the relationships between the objects that made up each pair, rather them simply recall them." The subjects who were able to reach deeper levels of sleep demonstrated more flexibility in thinking, being able to apply old facts to new situations.

"It was as if sleep stretched the muscles of the brain, and it responded by bending its conception of reality in a way that let it arrive at a new vision." But when we sleep less than six hours a night, our cognitive ability is as reliable as when we are intoxicated. "Researchers gathered a group of subjects that included employees at a transportation company and members of the Australian Army. Each person was tested on his or her ability to drive in a simulated road test. As subjects went without sleeping, their reaction times slowed, their memories dulled, and their sense of time grew hazy. [...] [T]hose who had stayed awake for more than 17 straight hours were in worse shape than those with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent," in BC you will be deemed legally drunk and police can issue an immediate roadside prohibition (ICBC).

Considering the results of sleep studies, it seems adequate sleep is a crucial factor in reaching our full potential and tapping into our creative and intellectual capabilities. Tonight let's hit the sack early because you snooze, you win.

Credit: The Daily Beast (Newsweek)

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