Earlier today I wrote about rest. One of my points was about how I tend to neglect sleep. Here’s how bad it has gotten:

  • At times I’ve worn it as a badge of honor. I’d kinda brag about how I’d only gotten three hours of sleep the night before working on some project, hoping to get some special recognition.
  • I was known as the guy who would send you an email sometime after midnight. I kinda became self-conscious about it and would often draft emails to have them send early in the morning so that it looked like I got  and early start as opposed to staying up so late.
  • I could go on, but you get the point.

Just a few hours after writing the post from this morning, my wife came across this video:

I think I might be starting to get the message. All my life, I’ve been telling people that I just don’t need the sleep. Could it be that my body has just adapted to the deprivation and I’m just not aware of my cognitive drain. Since reading about this in the Book “Brain Rules” several months ago, I’ve joked about my possible cognitive impairment. I think I’m a pretty smart guy… but if I logged in eight hours of sleep, I might just be a genius!

A study conducted by NASA found that a 26 minute nap in the early afternoon increased pilot performance by 34 percent. That’s huge. Another study showed that a 45 minute nap increased cognitive ability by a similar percent that lasted for more than 6 hours. “Brain Rules” went on to talk about the dangers of sleep deprivation:

“Sleep loss cripples thinking, in just about every way you can measure thinking. Sleep loss hurts attention, executive function, immediate memory, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning ability, general math knowledge. Eventually, sleep loss affects manual dexterity, including fin motor control (except, perhaps, for pinball) and even gross motor movements, such as the ability to walk on a treadmill.”

Okay people, I think I get the point. Obviously I have to adjust and overcome years worth of unhealthy sleep habits, my perspective has changed and at least I believe that I want this. Check out chapter 7 of “Brain Rules.” The entire book is a fascinating read, but this chapter on sleep began to get me thinking about changing this habit.