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Sleeping Your Way To the Top

May 16, 2011

Many top performers have quietly discovered the same secret weapon:

Seurat_Le_dormeur

consistently getting eight hours of sleep a night.

It’s inescapable.

Time and time again; we’ve learned that our brains go to work as our bodies rest – thinking differently than they do when we’re awake:

  • Broadening the tunnel vision that develops after concentrating on something for a long time.
  • Making new connections among previously unrelated ideas and memories.
  • Practicing and ingraining recently learned concepts and skills.
  • Strengthening our ability to sustain our attention span and engagement when we’re awake.
  • Although aggressive company cultures laud 24/7 availability and Type-A personalities boast about getting by on just a few hours of sleep, research has demonstrated that the less sleep you get the worse you perform.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that Americans are averaging only 6.9 hours of sleep a weeknight – and think that they’re getting by just fine.  But, in fact, they’re not:

  • Thinking as clearly,
  • Learning as quickly,
  • Coming up with as many new ideas,
  • Or performing as productively as they think they are.

They’ve simply lost their edge.

Unlike resilient achievers like Arianna Huffington, who have learned to, “Shut your eyes and discover the great ideas inside us.”

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