Maybe you are one of those people who feel drained of energy most of the time. Even though you have just spent 8 hours under the covers, you still need a boost to get going in the morning. And in the afternoon, you need a nap to finish the rest of the day.
A worst-case scenario is when you can’t even get to sleep or stay asleep long enough to feel human. For those who cannot sleep at night, you are probably so tired that you cannot imagine that you won’t sleep tonight, but somehow you do not.
Chronic sleeplessness weakens and endangers us in many ways:
- We become more easily irritated and angered.
- Our sense of humor dissolves.
- Both depression and anxiety come to the fore.
- Relationships suffer and sexual drive abates.
- Memories of events quickly fade.
- We have trouble talking, in finding the right words.
- Judgment and self-control are impaired and we don’t care.
- We become spacey and come across to others that way.
- We can’t focus on the task at hand.
- Drive and creativity fade, and we withdraw from usual activities.
- Learning from our experiences is compromised because of weakened attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities.
- Motor reflexes are slower and we are at risk of accidents.
From the body’ standpoint, chronic sleeplessness adds to a risk of irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attack and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. (see WebMD) Restorative sleep during the night can make a huge difference in our energy level throughout the day.
A daily routine for many, which may include you, is to have at least one morning cup of coffee or an energy drink to get going. The expectation is that the stimulation will ensure good performance for whatever is planned. Contemporary scientific research, to the contrary, shows that the value of restorative sleep has been underestimated. We now know that restful sleep works better than artificial stimulation, particularly if you are trying to ensure optimal performance.
Sleep is important for daily performance and general well-being. Sports performers and the military consider it to be the primary basis for good mental and physical performance. The New York Times (Oct 1 2016) reported that both the NBA and the NFL consider players’ performance to be directly connected to how effectively they have achieved restful sleep. To accomplish this, players wear electronic wristbands that monitor the quality of their sleep. The wristband transmits data to the player’s cell phone so that they can make adjustments to their own life style as needed. An algorithm, developed by the US military converts the sleep data into a number which can be correlated to the player’s “quickness, strength, endurance, flexibility, play recall, and cognitive performance.”
Fortune magazine also reported that tracking sleep quality helped Michael Phelps and the US Men’s Olympic Swimming Team achieve excellent performance in the Rio Olympics. Coaches made sleep a core focus in their training endeavors.
Fatigue Science, a company concerned with the risks associated with workplace fatigue, has developed a biomathematical fatigue model with the US Army Research Laboratory, validated by the US Department of Transportation. The model known as the Readiband captures high-resolution sleep data. Sleep data is then transmitted to the cloud automatically for analysis, in order to accurately predict fatigue. The fatigue model indicates that restful sleep is associated with shorter reaction times, reduced injury rates, improved overall health, better accuracy, faster sprint times, and fewer mental errors. Sleep improvements may have additional benefits of not only contributing to optimal performance, but also helping to prevent later development of disorders such as PTSD that leave soldiers unable to return to combat operations.
Direct research studies have also reported the effectiveness of deep brain relaxation to reduce the symptoms of people suffering with insomnia, as well as preventing their potential development of PTSD. A relaxed brain supports more effective and satisfying restful sleep.
Research by the Department of Defense used Brainwave Optimization (BWO) technology to evaluate and deeply relax the brain function of special operations soldiers. Results confirmed the need for deep relaxation rather than stimulation of brain function for their optimal performance. Results also showed that a relaxed brain can achieve dynamic flexibility of brainwave patterns, demonstrating increased reaction speed, improved hand-grip strength, and recovery from years of traumatic stress symptoms.
The brain is probably the most complex system in the cosmos. Artificially stimulating the brain towards an arbitrary norm contradicts current scientific research that shows restful sleep often requires the brain to adjust its own rhythms. A sufficiently relaxed brain has the natural flexibility of function to adjust to changing circumstances and set its function to accommodate a wide range of variations.
Deep relaxation of the brain not only leads to more restful sleep but also to an increase in energy for the day’s demands. So, if you think that you need that extra cup of coffee, you might consider arranging for a more restful night of sleep that would give you the boost you need for the upcoming day.