*WHY SLEEP IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE*
It’s not always easy to follow a good sleep pattern when you have a range
of different life commitments throughout the week which may prevent you
from getting your fair share of shut eye but here’s an extract from The
Brain Book <http://lidpublishing.com/book/the-brain-book/>by Phil Dobson
<http://www.lidspeakers.com/> explaining the importance of sleep for
Insufficient sleep is correlated with impaired logical reasoning, decision
making, memory, attention, and reaction times. Sleep debt is also found to
be cumulative; if you sleep for less than six hours a night for five nights
in a row, you can expect your cognitive performance to drop to that of a
person who hasn’t slept for 48 hours.
Over years of poor sleep, you suffer cortical atrophy. Your brain literally
starts to shrink.
To cultivate a healthy relationship with sleep, it helps to understand your
sleep. You probably already know that you sleep in cycles. During every
90-minute cycle, your brain shifts through different stages of sleep that
correlate with different brain ‘states’ as measured by EEG
(electroencephalograph) machines. Broadly speaking, you divide your sleep
between periods of deep (slow wave) sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement)
The first few cycles of sleep, soon after you’ve fallen asleep, are
characterised by a lot of deep sleep, when your body produces the growth
hormone. This helps promote physical restoration.
Subsequent sleep cycles, in the latter half of your night’s slumber, tends
to involve a greater proportion of REM sleep, (associated with dreaming)
and this promotes learning, memory, and mental restoration.
Five sleep cycles (seven-and-a-half-hours allows for more cognitive
restoration than four cycles (six hours), and consequently promotes
superior mental function. Less than six hours, and you really start to
For more tips to help you think and work better read, The Brain Book