Want to get creative? Sleep on it!

Today I am sharing a TED Talks video with you. It is stuff every health professional, shift worker, parent needs to know!
Here is why:
You want to be creative – you will need a good nights sleep because sleep strengthens your creative neural pathways (yes – creativeness is not just imagination…it is a physiological structure in your brain…to feed it…SLEEP! Easy peesy!

Russell – the clever chap in this video, clearly gets his full 8 hours! But most of us are only getting 5 hours (do a personal audit…. how many really?????)
Bad news is 5 hours sleep is not enough!!!! And less than about 8 hours each night is likely to make you sick…. there is a 50% likelihood for people in the 5 hours or less category that they will be obese…. because not getting enough sleep triggers the hunger hormones…. makes people crave carbs…. and lots of refined sugars….. not pretty!

But it not just obesity on the radar…. it is STRESS too. Tired people are stressed people, they become fat, and sick (lower immunity), they get diabetes, heart disease….. do you want me to keep going……..?

It is bad news…. sleep is needed – About 8 hours worth at least. The big societal problem is that most people only get 5 hours.
(btw – Teenagers need about 9 hours…. and they are wired (literally) to stay up late and rise late… and they need a big long sleep in every once and a while. Their brains NEED the recovery and restoration time….)
But my guess is that most people who read this blog are likely to be adults…(and some will be parents of teenagers I suppose!) So – If you are trying to operate on 5 hours (or so) of sleep (like many people do), then you will probably battle with poor memory, poor judgement, poor creative and increased impulsivity (nasty mix!).

In addition your brain will crave stimulants…. like caffeine or cigarettes…. and to help you sleep, you might be inclined to drink alcohol. But – alcohol robs your brain of proper sleep…because it sedates the neurological functions of your busily sleeping brain. So you get even less value from the sleep you do get…. and then you wake up, eat carbs, drink coffee, make bad decisions, forget things…. grab a beer, and start all over!!!

Make yourself a promise…… get some sleep…the full 8 hours every night. To achieve that make sure your bedroom is a great place to sleep: Dark, make your bed every day (so it is wonderful to jump into at night), ambient temperate slightly cool, turn off your smart phone, don’t watch TV (or anything on a laptop) in bed, try not to drink caffeine late in the day or at night, and go to the loo before retiring for the night.

Get your full 8 hours – be a nicer person to live with, work with…. and let your creativity shine!

Oh and here is a thought…. we encourage patients’ to ask nurses (and other health workers) ‘have you washed your hands?’…. maybe we should also ask ‘how many hours sleep did you get last night?’ – to controversial?

Thanks Russell Foster for these handy reminders! And thanks to my Exercise Physiologist friend Bonnie Furzer for sharing the video with me….. I in turn, share it with you!


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