There is a whole mythos that surrounds work and sleep. The general thrust is that you need to sacrifice sleep for success. This idea can be seen in phrases like “burning the candle at both ends” and “you snooze you lose”. Anyone who has started at a new job in a big company knows the pressure, especially in certain professions like law and medicine. You are expected to work yourself to the bone, you are made to think that your success lies in the wake of many sleepless and sleep deprived nights. The problem is that this is a totally misguided and outmoded conception of sleep and success. If you really want to succeed you need to get a good night’s sleep every night. It really is that simple.
Sleep your way to the top
If you want to get to the top you need to sleep your way there, literally. Get your mind out of the gutter and onto a nice soft pillow. The science doesn’t lie, the more we find out about sleep the more we have come to understand the absolutely central role it plays in both our physical and mental wellbeing. Turns out that sleep is not just about recharging batteries, it is essential for a whole host of different physiological and psychological functions. Most people can understand the physical and physiological aspects of sleep, but struggle with the mental and psychological elements.
Remember to sleep, sleep to remember
Sleep plays a vital role in memory. Several phases in sleep are vital in the role of memory consolidation. That is the step between learning new memories and accessing them. When we sleep the brain is busy processing new memories and storing them so that you can access them. There have been a number of studies that have shown the detrimental impact even a few hours sleep less than normal can have. Memory is fairly important in your career, to say the least, so sleep well each night and have all the facts on hand for tomorrow’s big meeting.
For one thing, sleep is critical for brain washing. Ok, yet another misleading title with an important point to make. A study that was recently published in the highly respected Science journal found that not only is sleep important for our memory consolidation but it is also the time when the brain cleans itself. Yes the brain washes itself as you sleep. Turns out that harmful toxins that do damage to the cells build up during the day and night time is the best time for a rinse. The less sleep you get the more harmful toxins build up. The longer you burn the candle when you are young the more likely your candle (ok, brain), will suffer from any one of a number of brain disorders when you are older.
Don't get emotional over sleep
Not only does sleep help with memory consolidation and cleansing of the brain, it is also essential in mood control. It turns out that sleep deprivations plays havoc with your emotions and your ability to read other people’s emotions. Being in a good mood is useful for your career, reading other people’s moods is just as important. Sleep well and don’t get emotional.
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