Sleeping Your Way to Success

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Why do we need to sleep?

Until recently, no one really knew the answer. But in the past few years, Neuroscientists have made some incredible breakthroughs in understanding the purpose of sleep. I thought I’d share some of that research with you:

  • Sleep Helps You Retain Information You Learned During the Day – While you sleep, the hippocampus and the neocortex are busy chatting away with one another. The hippocampus starts the conversation by sending newly obtained information it received from other parts of the brain during the day to the neocortex. The neocortex then reaches out to the brain to try to find out where this new information was initially acquired. If enough neurons respond, the neocortex sends a response to the hippocampus that this information is important. What happens next is really amazing. During the REM portion of sleep, the hippocampus and neocortex repeatedly loop this new information back and forth with one another thousands of times in an effort to convert this new information into a long-term memory.
  • Conscious & Subconscious Communication –  Sleep enables offline communication between the conscious mind (aka neocortex), which shuts down during sleep, and the subconscious mind (limbic system and brain stem). This is important because the subconscious mind is regularly taking in sensory data that is invisible to the conscious mind. When you experience intuition, this is actually the conscious mind telling you something it learned from the subconscious mind during a sleep cycle.
  • Sleep Helps Brain Cells Communicate – Sleep increases the size of your myelin sheath. The myelin sheath insulates the axon branches on each brain cell. Without the myelin sheath, brain cells would not be able to communicate with each other. The thicker the myelin sheath, the faster and more powerful the communication. Individuals who have thicker myelin sheaths have higher IQs.
  • Sleep Restores Willpower – When willpower is depleted, we become unable to focus and think clearly, causing us to be distracted and to make poor decisions. Sleep helps to restore our depleted reserves of willpower.
  • Sleep Reduces Inflammation and Helps You Think Clearer – Sleep slows down your Sypathetic Nervous System, reducing stress. This not only helps you think clearer but also helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with all sorts of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Individuals who do not get enough sleep make poor decisions, suffer from chronic inflammation and are susceptible to disease.

How much sleep is enough?

The average adult requires between four to six sleep cycles a night. Each sleep cycle is composed of five separate levels of sleep: alpha, theta, delta, rapid eye movement (REM) and then back to theta. The first three sleep levels last approximately 65 minutes. REM lasts 20 minutes and the final level of sleep lasts 5 minutes. So, each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. Four sleep cycles is six hours, five sleep cycles is 7.5 hours and six sleep cycles is nine hours.

This is why some individuals require more or less sleep than others. It all depends on how many sleep cycles your brain needs every night. The number of hours you sleep is less important than the number of complete sleep cycles your brain requires every night. Five sleep cycles a night, or 7.5 hours, is considered optimal.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
 
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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