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Sleep More: Dr. Brynn's Brain-Based Boosters

By Dr. Brynn

Sleep More: Dr. Brynn's Brain-Based Productivity Boosters
I've been sitting on this one for a while - not because I was unsure of the advice, but because it might possibly be my favorite 'brain-based booster' out there: simply, to please sleep more!

We take sleep for granted, don't we? Just something we have to do every day, we all do it, most animals do as well, in some ways sort of inconvenience, and the first thing we short-change when stress hits, we have a major deadline, friends want a night on the town, or there's a great series you want to binge-watch on Netflix - amiright? 

Sleep might be the first thing to go, but new research is showing it should be the last and take a much more concerted effort and significant place on your priority list. The following are just *some* of the most potent reasons why.

Your Brain Needs Sleep More Than Food
You almost can't look anywhere these days without hearing more about how important proper sleep is for you: sleep is more important to your brain than food, and third only to oxygen first and water second. Think about it: after 5 minutes without oxygen your brain can damage; after 2 hours without water your brain physically shrinks...you can go days without eating - but sleep?

Einstein Must Have Been a Great Sleeper

Research shows for every hour of sleep you lose you experience a decrement in IQ the following day of approximately 10 points. I don't know about you, but I'm counting on every one of my IQ points to help me during my day and life, so I can't afford to lose even 1 hour of sleep a night!

Forget the 'Breathalyzer': "Sir, Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over? Have You Been Losing Sleep?"

Other research shows our cognitive reasoning, decision-making, motor coordination are all compromised by sleep-loss as well: each hour lost amounts to the equivalent of 1 alcoholic beverage in your system. I don't know about you, but here again, I'm a 'light-weight' and wouldn't have one drink and drive - does 1 hour of sleep loss mean I shouldn't be driving the next day? According to the science, yes.

"Everything Worth Knowing is Learned in the Bedroom"?
Sometimes I speak to teacher's groups who don't *love* when I recount the following brain fact: learning doesn't happen in the classroom; it happens in the bed: knowledge (the memory of having learned something), memories, and learning are all consolidated in the brain during sleep.

Body at Rest, Brain at Work

In fact, if I put you in an fMRI right now, I'd hear the electrical crackling of something similar to crickets on a calm summer's night. However, if we put you to sleep, and did another fMRI, we'd hear the electrical cracklings something like a thunder and lightning storm - your brain comes ALIVE at night, when your body is finally at rest. During sleep is when the brain clears out the old - toxins, waste, old ideas, old memories, dead neurons - and makes way for the new - learnings, knowledge, memories, thoughts, ideas, perceptions etc. Sleep is critical for neural functioning - more than we realize.

Further research shows that it doesn't take much sleep deprivation to start a cascade of negative states or consequences: processing, reasoning, decision-making, focus, concentration, motivation, serotonin production, happiness, satisfaction, productivity are all quickly compromised. Sustained periods of sleeplessness contribute to increases in all kinds of psychological and somatic challenges: increased toxic load (brain & body), increases in viral load, decreased immunity, adrenal fatigue and burnout, anxiety, stress, depression, absenteeism, illness, development of chronic conditions, inflammation, and the list goes on. Suffice it to say: as simple and 'skipable' as sleep seems, it's absolutely critical for your best functioning.

So this week, to be more motivated, productive, to get more done, ward off stress, improve your immunity, and to operate at your own peak self - SLEEP MORE!

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by Dr. Brynn

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