Blog Post No.61
Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards
By Renata Taylor-Byrne
12th June 2019
This blog post could just as easily have been called “Sleep better, feel better; act better; live longer; be healthier” – because all of those outcomes, and more, are a direct result of having an adequate amount of sleep of good quality, every night of your life.
But what is an ‘adequate’ amount of sleep? We live in an era in which sleep is under attack from a number of quarters, including:
– Sleep distractors, like late night TV; internet attractions; mobile phones; tablets and laptops in the bedroom; the 24 hour city; and so on. Plus:
– Sleep disruptors, like financial stress; work strain; long commutes to and from work; ‘presenteeism’ (or staying later at work), because of the fear of redundancy; rampant, unrealistic ambition; widespread alcohol availability; excessive use of caffeine; sugary diets; and so on.
This blog includes a description of what I cover in my book, and the value it can have for everyone if they want to improve their sleep, and their happiness, and their health.
Here’s an example of the sort of information that’s in my book, which shows how sleep has a massive impact on our lives. I’m going to describe a short research study which shows the importance of naps, and why I researched sleep for over two years to get this information across to the public.
Chinese research with adolescents
I read some fascinating research results in an article in The Times newspaper last Saturday which shows very clearly why, if we all get more sleep, it really benefits us.
The title of the article was: “Students should have a nap between classes.”
It seems British school children are stressed and over-tired, with a knock on effect on the quality of their lives and their academic achievements.
By contrast, Chinese scientists have been exploring the value of naps in school! They conducted research with adolescents – 3,000 children who took part in the study that I saw. They were all 12 years old. They were allowed to have a snooze of between 30 and 60 minutes in length, at midday, and, according to the article, this is quite routine behaviour in China.
The researcher collected information by asking adolescent children questions about their level of contentment, and how often they napped and also their teachers’ assessment of the students’ academic ability and their general social behaviour in school.
These findings, from the journal, Sleep, show clearly the value of naps:
– There was a 7.6% improvement in academic performance in the children who napped 3 or more times a week, and:
– when their behaviour and IQ was measured by the researchers, it was found that they had:
- a) fewer problems in their behaviour,
- b) a higher IQ, and
- c) a higher level of grit and self-control.
To summarise the findings, Rhys Blakely stated: “12 year olds, who slept at midday, were found to be happier and cleverer.” The Times, June 8th, 2019, page 20. (Blakely is the science correspondent for The Times newspaper).
In a nutshell, the key finding was that students benefit from having naps between classes; just as NASA in the US in 1995, (wanting to know if their astronauts would benefit from having naps), discovered that naps increased your attentiveness and alertness by 54%).
What have I included in my book?
What kind of information have I got in my book? Here is a breakdown:
I present key research findings about the nature of sleep; the importance of sleep; the promoters and spoilers of sleep; and the supporting evidence from various studies, which are important to know about, if you care about the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family.
I included a lot of techniques for improving sleep quality; and these are clearly and simply explained.
Also, you need strategies for safeguarding your sleep in social pressure situations and these are described with clear examples.
The impact of lack of sleep on body weight is outlined – inadequate sleep leads to weight gain! – with the relevant research results; and also there is an outline of how lack of sleep reduces emotional intelligence, with examples from the workplace and home situations.
A simple yet powerful model for changing habits is described, so that you can start to work on changing your sleep behaviour.
And I describe how important it is to be well-rested before receiving new information that you have to learn off by heart. Memorising information depends on sufficient sleep, and the links are made clear.
The inescapable power which nature’s patterns of light and darkness have over human behaviour is explained.
I also describe the kinds of foods and drinks which sabotage sleep, as well as those which help to enhance sleep.
There are several different ‘chronotypes’ – (or individual patterns of wakefulness and alertness [larks, owls, etc.) – found among humans, through scientific research; and these are described; as are the implications for the ideal type of work schedule for you, based on your chronotype.
This book is easy to read; written in straightforward language; with a glossary of essential technical terms at the back.
The value of this book
What would you gain from reading my book on sleep?
This book explains very clearly the tried and tested techniques you can start using immediately to improve your sleep. These sleep enhancement strategies will have a positive impact on your happiness; your sense of autonomy; and develop closer, more emotionally intelligent relationships with others.
Also, if you are a student, or need to learn a lot of information for your work, extra sleep will have a very beneficial effect on your memory.
My book shows the ways to block the sleep thieves that are operating all around you – (dietary, mental, social and environmental) – so you feel better, happier and more in control of your life.
It gives you essential information to show you how healthy and nutritious sleep can be restored without financial costs.
You will know how to make your bedroom a sanctuary where you can recover fully from the day’s stresses; and understand why siestas and naps are so beneficial that the Japanese Health Ministry now recommends that people make sure they get one every day!
Your relationships at work and at home will be transformed by the extra energy, patience, and emotional intelligence that you will find from having sufficient, high quality sleep.
This book will show you the effects of lack of sleep on the ability to read other people accurately, its effect on empathy and how morale and motivation at work is negatively affected by sleep-deprived managers.
The myth that you need less sleep as you get older is examined, and the reality of teenagers needing more sleep is explained. And the positive research results from American schools, which have experimented with later starting times, is described.
If you want to improve your happiness and health, and your are skimping on your sleep at the moment, then this book could be a great boon to you!
That’s all for now.