B Well – Sleeping Your Way to the Top

Well THAT got your attention –  I’m talking literally speaking of course!

How getting enough sleep in general can be beneficial to getting ahead.  This article by Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group was too interesting to shorten.  Read on:

Every business hungers for a tool that might give it an advantage against its competition. Senior executives spend millions on consultants, R&D, and capital investment while workers are constantly trying to enhance their skills in order to boost their standing within the company.

But for all the talk about the “efficiency of the marketplace,” it’s surprising that so few companies and rising stars take advantage of one performance enhancement tool that’s been scientifically proven to have multiple benefits — and which also happens to be absolutely free. I’m talking about sleep.

So many of us fail to make use of such a simple and valuable tool; in fact, we deliberately do just the opposite and make a fetish of not getting enough sleep, in the mistaken — and costly — belief that success results from the amount of time we put in, instead of the kind of time we put in. I once had dinner with a man who bragged to me that he’d only gotten four hours of sleep the previous night. It was not easy to resist the temptation to tell him that he might have been a lot more interesting if he’d gotten five.

Indeed, there’s practically no element of workplace success that’s not improved by sleep and, accordingly, diminished by lack of sleep. Creativity, ingenuity, confidence, leadership, decision making — all of these can be enhanced simply by sleeping more.
”Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our mood, our ability to focus, and our ability to access higher-level cognitive functions,” say Dr. Stuart Quan and Dr. Russell Sanna, from Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine. “The combination of these factors is what we generally refer to as mental performance.” They also point out that lack of sleep was a “significant factor” in the Exxon Valdez wreck, the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle, and the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research likewise concluded that “insufficient sleep can adversely affect a variety of cognitive abilities, ranging from simple alertness to higher-order executive functions.” It’s hard to be a higher-order executive without such functions, nor with lowered “global emotional intelligence,” “reduced self-regard, assertiveness, sense of independence, and self-actualization,” “reduced empathy toward others and quality of interpersonal relationships,” “reduced impulse control and difficulty with delay of gratification,” and “reduced positive thinking and action orientation.” Though one thing you do get with sleep deprivation is “greater reliance on formal superstitions and magical thinking processes.” Not really a great asset in the workplace – unless you work at Hogwarts.

And, yet, 41 million Americans, almost a third of all adult workers, clock six or fewer hours of sleep per night. Even if we’re not getting the seven or eight hours a night we should be, researchers have found that even short naps can give us many of the same benefits. According to David Randall, author of “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep,” even a short nap, “primes our brains to function at a higher level, letting us come up with better ideas, find solutions to puzzles more quickly, identify patterns faster and recall information more accurately.”

But of course, getting more sleep is easier said than done — believe me, I know! This is especially true in a culture that’s wired and connected 24/7. And more and more science is proving the truth that screens and sleep are natural enemies. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently published a study that showed that the light from computer screens obstructs the body’s production of melatonin, which helps govern our internal body clock and regulates our sleep cycle. Technology allows to be so connected with the outside world that we lose connection to our inside world.

So what are the solutions? Experts have many ideas but what works for you? How much sleep do you get and/or need? And what are your secrets for making sure you turn off? Here’s wishing you a good night!                                                                             

You’ll like listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most         up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – LIVE every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America. Here’s the link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1686/transforming-health

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