mìsula® magazine


A sleep study, reported in the Dr Amen podcast analysed the effects of sleep deprivation of target shooting accuracy. 7 hours sleep resulted in 78% accuracy; 6 hours was just 50% accuracy; 5 hours dropped to 28% accuracy and 4 hours plummeted to a low 14% accuracy. OK so you may not be using weapons on a daily basis but we all need our brains for multiple daily functions which require focus and accuracy. Simple things like driving, judging distance, making decisions, concentrating, writing, memory etc. I heard this information on a day when I had a bad night’s sleep the night before, and I could feel it. That day I had a two hour drive ahead of me, but because it was something I could postpone I decided it wiser to stay home and not take my tired brain onto the highway. A place where life and death decisions may need to be made in micro seconds. In the past year there has been an important discovery that our brain has a natural detoxification drainage system, which is similar to our lymphatic system, and this drainage occurs when we are asleep. But we need healthy sleep for this to occur. In past decades it was almost a badge of honor to claim that you only need a few hours’ sleep, and that you could get more done. At last this crazy type behavior has been clearly shown to be detrimental to thinking and performance, so now the movers and shakers in Silicon Valley are priding themselves on getting 8 hours sleep. When we sleep well we spend periods of time in the deep delta wave phase. This is when your body repairs and heals. Without this phase we will experience more inflammation and therefore we will age faster, experience more pain, have less energy, and think less clearly. Light noise, alcohol, caffeine, temperature and blue light from electronic devices are all disruptive to good sleep, and these can all be controlled or limited entirely or at least to a large extent. Trying to do more by sleeping less may work for a few days but overall it will have a negative effect. The key is to consider sleep as an important part of your day and jealously protect it, fight for and don’t easily give it up for other activities. The payoff is substantial and you will feel so much better. (By Ian Newton)