Hello Color & Pop Friend 🙂 I’m still in a moment of pondering on my 2017 new year resolutions goals and one thing keeps coming back … and back … and back to me: Sleep. I am confident this has much to do with finishing my last course on neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new neural connections), where large discussion and collaboration at one point was focused on the results found on the impacts of sleep, or moreover the impacts to lack of sleep.
I used to be such a believer that sleep is over-rated. I still have precise memories as a child, failing (but trying feverishly nonetheless) to convince my parents that I didn’t need sleep and going to bed late will have no effect to my next day. And … as I gained my independence to the shackles of my parent’s rules and went out into the world … staying up to my heart’s content seemed like a no brainer. I didn’t have any sign of exhaustion, and if I did, I could shake it off with little recourse. Heck, to be really transparent on this topic, I used to brag to anyone I could on the fact in my line of work, tech-entrepreneur-gone-tech-executive, I’ve literally stayed awake for days (yes, that is plural) working without a break to meet deadlines. I shook it off, right?
And then came age + kids = stress! That was when reality hit that sleep is a precious commodity. I mean, whoever invents wrapping sleep up in a box, with a bow on it, and packages it up in such a way it can be given as a gift is genius in my book! But, I knew years ago that day for such gift has a way to go … and until then, I remain mystified to the hardship that plagues getting good sleep.
So, to keep myself … and help keep you … in perspective, I am going to revisit what I learned as to areas of thyself that have repercussion when not achieving optimal sleep:
- What You Lose In Sleep May Be What You Gain In Weight. Thanks to recent research, Acute Sleep Deprivation Enhances the Brain’s Response to Hedonic Food Stimuli: An fMRI Study, research has offered additional insight into the fact “acute sleep loss enhances hedonic stimulus processing in the brain underlying the drive to consume food” – (See more: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2011-2759#sthash.Xpb7SKhY.dpuf). Wowzers … this fact alone makes me want to pin this up next to my refrigerator!
- Sleep Fuels The Brain. One neuromyth I was happy to hear debunked is: the brain’s ability to grow and learn ceases at some point during an individual’s life. WRONG! In fact, newer research is proving age has less relevance to the brain’s ability to make new neuro connections. But, one thing that is showing correlation to the brain’s ability to learn is the amount of sleep the body is receiving. I won’t give the plethora of research papers to support this, but if you’re up for a great TedTalk on sleep, I’d suggest the one by Jeff Iliff, Neuroscientist, named: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep.
- Want To Mess With Your Kids Test Results? Ground Them From Sleep. Okay, my sarcasm came out on this one, but if you want to put all kidding aside there is truth to what I am saying here. Research has proven strong correlation to students test results with the amount of sleep they get. Of course, this doesn’t just have to apply to those under the age of 20. Heck, if you’re still going for your masters at the young age of 60 – this applies to you, too! In fact, believe it not, there are predictive models now being considered in determining the likelihood of achieving various levels of test results based on collected data on your sleep! So, don’t screw with proving what you know by cramming … and thinking, “I’ll just catch up on my sleep later” … it will hurt you in more ways than one!
- Did Someone Say Memory? Yep! Although you may be cranking out the zzz’s … your brain is still doing its thing. Sleep aids memory consolidation. Interesting enough, research is proving memories are re-playing, modifying, stabilizing, and enhancing while you slumber. Given the ability to learn relies on memory, you should want to covet this beautiful dynamic of the brain. I remember a question posed in class this past semester on memory that I think I’ll also leave you to pontificate, as it relates to the importance of memory: What is your identity if you have no memory? Something to think about!
I believe I have covered some of the top reasons sleep should be on your resolution list this year – I know it is on mine! And, if you’re thirsty for more to help get you on the right track, you might want to start with these below:
Do You Have Good Sleep Hygiene (Video): http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/do-you-have-bad-sleep-hygiene
2016 Top Apps for Insomnia: http://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/top-insomnia-iphone-android-apps
Tom’s Guide: 15 Best Sleep Apps: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/679-best-sleep-apps.html#s2