Sleep well, think well

January 26, 2011 · 1 comment

There’s a battle raging in your head between two armies. Each army is made of legions of brain cells and biochemicals — one desperately trying to keep you awake, the other desperately trying to force you to sleep. Sleep scientists have discovered that every day between 2 and 3 p.m., which is exactly 12 hours after the midpoint of your last night’s sleep, all your brain wants to do is nap. Ever feel tired in the afternoon? That’s because your brain really wants to take a nap. NASA has even studied this phenomenon. Mark Rosekind, a research scientist at NASA, conducted eye-opening research on naps and pilot performance. His findings? A 26-minute nap in the afternoon increased performance accuracy by 34%

It would be very difficult for me to suggest that my employees take a nap every afternoon, but what other management strategy would improve people’s performance 34% in just 26 minutes?

I’m a big fan of Thomas Edison and discovered that during the most productive part of his lifetime he often slept for just three or four hours a night. In fact, he kept a small cot in the corner of his laboratory offices that he would use to take frequent catnaps throughout the day and night.

Have you ever wondered how much sleep we’re supposed to get each day? Over the years, I must have read a couple dozen articles on the subject, and no one seems to know for sure how much sleep we need. I recently read a book called Brain Rules by a molecular biologist named John Medina. It was a fun and entertaining read that I found very informative. Medina reminded readers that a loss of sleep hurts attention, executive function, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning, and even motor dexterity. He felt that seven hours of sleep each night was the “sweet spot” for busy executives. Medina suggested that business executives are better decision makers when they get seven hours of sleep regularly. He also stated that less than seven hours of sleep or more than nine hours of sleep would be detrimental to your health — both short-term and long-term.

Are your sleeping habits contributing to your overall productivity or hurting it? It’s a question worth thinking about.

Oh, by the way… don’t schedule important meetings at 3 p.m. It just doesn’t make sense.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

roger jackson January 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Very nice article Mike, Just finished lunch and sat down to address emails/ paperwork. Makes sense why I am sluggish right now.

Thanks for all the articles, miss your column in Quick Printing, but like your new style better. Seems that YOU are the editor and no one can mess with your content. Just a refreshing thought.



Previous post:

Next post: