Why Sleeping is a Neurological Superpower and 3 High-Performance Wins of Getting Enough Of It.

How to master 'do-not-disturb' mode without guilt, and create space for rejuvenation so you can flow, create and be spontaneous in life.

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Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep. 

— Mesut Barazany

The feeling when I swipe down my iPhone screen to the menu bar and click that bed icon has become like Christmas morning. It’s the flagship move that prides itself on me holding space, for me. For my needs, for my rest, for my power. It’s a dopamine hit of pleasure. 

It’s me saying no to distractions and saying yes to my dreams. 

I’ve neurologically programmed it this way, and I am never going back. 

Trying to move mountains while tired, yes it can be done, but does it have to be done on the slippery slope of burnout? I am giving you permission to stop. Stop riding the anxiousness of knowing you are one step away from just collapsing, be it physically or mentally. 

I hear the words leak with awareness from the mouths of leaders themselves. Im so F’in exhausted. Eyes bulging knowing they need the rest, unknowingly smitten with how to take it. For a long time, we have seen exhaustion translated as worth ethic and I think a part of humanity still thinks, this is what it takes. The belief that burning the candle on all ends is still there, a lot of us still think this is what “giving it my all” should be. It’s not. 

We need to remind ourselves how powerful one good night, far less a week or month —  or even a lifestyle habit of good sleep can be for our whole life. 

Lest we forget, how much more smoothly everything else on the agenda will get done if recharged and at full force, how our performance will divinely flourish, and how getting the same amounts done in less time will thrill us. 

You have probably already heard it a few times, that a good morning starts the night before, yet somehow we push our days to the bitter end and start our mornings at a disadvantage. If athletes are injured, they recover. Why not treat our brain, mind, and all that chaos to the same effect? 

Adults who were short sleepers (less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period) were more likely to report being obese, physically inactive, and current smokers compared to people who got enough sleep (7 or more hours per 24-hour period).

CDC, Sleep and Sleep Disorders

What if I told you, your health problems, immune system, weight frustrations, lower-than-desired career performance, and irritability in your relationships are all attributes of sleep deprivation? Only you know if you are getting the recommended sleep. And, you know if you are doing it consistently enough to make a positive impact.

People like Gary Vee whose personal brand was originally built on “Hustle”, will even tell you these days that it’s not how many hours you sleep, it’s what you do with the hours when you are awake. Tom Bilyeu built a billion-dollar company, without an alarm clock. Ellen Degeneres, J Lo, Jeff Besos, even the Dalia Lama (though I’m not surprised), Warren Buffet, and Cameron Diaz are all sleep-prioritizers.

Your health, your dreams, and your ability to achieve them start with sleep.

Here are three unexpected brain benefits that will rock your entire life in the best way; 

Flow 

Where there is focus, there will be flow. Flow is the psychological state in which a person is fully immersed in their task with energized focus, intrigue, full involvement, and most of all enjoyment. It’s the holy grail of productivity. In order to concentrate and maintain focus for long enough to get into flow, you need to be rested. Everything from learning, memory recall, our ability to problem solve is impacted by sleep and without that starting concentration, we miss out on the magic that comes from being in divine flow. It’s the feeling you have when hours have passed, you are ahead of the game, you have smashed your task out of the park and completed it with more inspiration than which you started. Isn’t that worth sleeping for?

Creativity 

Every tried to do something creative on a bad night’s sleep? Yea, I feel you, and as an author, it’s a nightmare. It’s like the next sentence needs to be sewn from the needle hidden in the haystack of my billion neuron network inside my brain. It is not easy to find what you are looking for, it’s a killer of creativity. On the flip side, after a good night’s sleep, you feel like you can take on the world. That is testament enough, but for science’s sake, let’s look at what happens to the brain. 

“Scientists and philosophers have long wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Sleep is important for storing memories. It also has a restorative function. Lack of sleep impairs reasoning, problem-solving, and attention to detail, among other effects. However, the mechanisms behind these sleep benefits have been unknown. A mouse study suggests that sleep helps restore the brain by flushing out toxins that build up during waking hours. The results point to a potential new role for sleep in health and disease.”

National Institute of Health: How Sleep Clears The Brain

I know you are probably so excited you want to find a way to jump straight into bed now right? It’s ok, I hear we get a daily opportunity to indulge in this superpower. But, before you go my last, and one of my most favorite, benefits of sleep.

Spontaneity 

Sleep impacts our brain’s executive ability of decision making, so new spontaneous opportunities feel like a tremendous amount to incorporate and just ‘in the moment’ plan for.  

Ever get offered to join dinners, music events, charity gigs, date nights, your kid’s extracurricular activities etc, and think to yourself I just want to sleep. If we stay on the merry-go-down cycle of deprivation we are always going to be “too tired” to show up. If we do show up, because people-pleasing is something we are also struggling with, then we are half present. But, do our experiences deserve to be half, quarter, 10% engaged with.

“The first symptoms of sleep deprivation tend to be the impairment of cognitive functioning. In the short term, sleep deprivation can affect your stress hormones, disrupting your cognition and destabilizing your moods. For some, this can cause more volatile and intense reactions to everyday life stressors or situations. It also can make you irritable and angry. Partial sleep deprivation has also been found to affect your ability to concentrate and pay attention to detail. A popular theory is that partial sleep deprivation causes slower and impaired thinking in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex controls what is known as higher function activities, such as language, executive function, and creativity. When you are sleep-deprived, there is an over-exertion of the prefrontal cortex, resulting in impaired concentration, alertness and reduced coordination.”

American Sleep Association, Sleep Deprivation Effects on the Brain

We are using the time to take part, and life is not a 10% upside, it’s 111% glory.

You need to rest to get the most out of your time investments, to mindfully feel the memories of your life that are becoming your entire legacy. Who we are psychologically while we are physically alive, matters. Rest can make us spontaneous, vibrant, excited to live. 

Best said by Nike, just do it. 

When you think of how indulgent, rejuvenating, and life-enhancing sleep can be, you start to realize all the ways in which you are paying the price while being sleep-deprived. It’s not just how we feel which may seem like it’s sustainable to solider on for me it’s the opportunity cost of not feeling the way I do when I am at my highest potential, and not achieving my greatness because of it. 

The days are trickling on, make your rest time a calculated habit and love that decision, make it a reward, make it a pleasure. Put that phone in do-not-disturb and greet each day with the vitality to flow with passion as you construct your dreams, creatively navigate your way through any problem or innovation, and most of all, embrace the spontaneity of living in the moment. 

Be rested enough to say yes to life. 

Happy zzz, you’ve got this! 

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