Written by: Naiyer Qureshi, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
''Sleep is a non-negotiable, biological necessity", Matthew Walker, Director of the Berkeley Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab.
Most of us have experienced that awful feeling after waking up still tired.
Moody, demotivated, just wanting to dive back under the covers.
Not possible as work beckons. This is the mood you take to your workplace and colleagues or clients if you're on the entrepreneur journey, expecting to experience a day of high concentration, engagement, and productivity.
You may be copacetic with poor sleep.
However, sleep is more important for your brain than you realize.
Studies have shown that most of us regularly need 7-8 hours a night.
When you get enough sleep, your attention is sharper, your concentration ability is higher, and your learning capabilities deeper.
Consequences of sleep deprivation:
reduced ability to focus on large amounts of information
difficulty ustaining your attention for long periods
slower reaction times
ability to problem solve reduced
poor memory recall
increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone)
poor regulation of emotions
weight gain due to higher levels of ghrelin-hunger hormone and lower levels of leptin-satiety hormone
An extreme consequence of sleep deprivation is your brain 'micro-sleeping.' Your brain may force itself to shut down for a few seconds when you are awake. You may become unconscious for a few seconds and not even realize.
Can you imagine if this happened whilst you were driving or operating machinery?
Sleep deprivation reduces your cognitive abilities akin to that of a drunk person.
What is your brain up to whilst you sleep?
Electroencephalogram [EEG] readings show that your brain is actually more active when you sleep. Some parts of your brain are up to 30% more active during sleep than during the day.
As you sleep, your brain is busy selecting which memories and learnings from your day are worth saving.
Do you really need to save the memory of what you ate for breakfast that morning?
Your brain will "prune away" unwanted neural connections. By pruning away excess connections, sleep effectively creates the space so that you can learn again the next day.
Regular deep sleep aids memory consolidation. Your learnings and thoughts from your PFC [prefrontal cortex], the higher-ordered thinking region, get sent to your hippocampus-memory inbox-for long term storage to be accessed in the future.
Lack of sleep can decrease how much of what you have learned that day is stored in your long-term memory.
Sleep protects your memories!
Your brain cells send electrical messages all day long due to your thoughts, learnings, and everyday activities.
These electrical signals "produce" toxic waste products. During sleep, the space between brain cells increases, allowing cerebral spinal fluid to cleanse the brain of toxins along with toxic proteins, which are linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Sleep is important for your immune system and cardiovascular health.
Regular deep sleep promotes a clean and healthy brain and may stave off several diseases.
Deep sleep produces delta brainwaves. At this level, your body's muscles and other cells heal and generate.
Tiredness can lead to stress and mismanagement of challenging situations. Your amygdala is always on the alert for negative emotions, and when it is activated, it hi-jacks your PFC.
You are less able to regulate your emotions, plan, assess, concentrate, and so on as a result.
Personal and professional relationships can suffer.
Your brain utilizes 20% of the body's energy, and it is such a waste of energy managing negative emotions and consequences as a result of tiredness. Potential, creativity, innovation, productivity... the list goes on ...losing out due to poor sleep habits.
Adequate sleep can help you to react calmly and control negative impulses.
Overall, deep regular sleep helps you to look, feel, and heal better. Your general levels of positivity, happiness, and feeling great are increased. You are alert, sharper with improved memory, and regulation of emotions.
Your stress levels are within your control.
keep your bedroom cool; 18 degrees centigrade is optimal
the regularity of sleep is important, same time to bed, same time to awake, even at weekends
8 hours of sleep will give you about 62-110 minutes of deep restorative sleep
reduce your screen time well before bed
reduce caffeine, wine, and nicotine before bed
exercise earlier in the day can promote sleep
write down your to-do list for the next day- get the points out of your head
Meditation can help to calm your mind and aid sleep
Prepare your bedroom- gorgeous bedlinen, low light, cool temperature -associate the ambiance with rest and sleep.
As you read at the beginning, ''sleep is a non-negotiable, biological necessity''.
Prioritize it and give yourself a healthy competitive edge in all facets of your life.
Naiyer Qureshi, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine
Naiyer Qureshi, is a certified NeuroCoach based in London, the UK.
Drawing on over 20 years in the retail sector, she works with ambitious entrepreneurs, busy professionals, and business leaders who value personal development, people who know they’re capable of achieving so much more and want to put strategies and structures in place to take their achievements to the next level.
She studied and completed The Coaching Academy’s Coach Training Programme, the world’s leading training provider.
Her study of Neuroscience Coaching and Leadership, from the Optimind Institute, underpins everything she does. Specialisms include Neuro Spirituality, Neuro Health, Neuro Relationships, and Neuro Entrepreneurship.
Her early career as a pharmacy technician instilled in her the importance of taking a rigorous scientific approach, with close attention to detail, accuracy, and a results-based methodology.