🛌 Why Sleep Matters
Do you know that not only your physical well-being but also your learning, emotional IQ, and creativity depend on your sleep? There is a reason you spend about ⅓ of your time sleeping.
Do you feel that things you are trying to learn aren’t sticking in your brain? Are you often emotionally distressed for no reason? Are you having trouble coming up with creative ideas? If that’s the case, taking a closer look at your sleep might work to your advantage.
🧠 The Learning Benefits of Sleep
In a previous post, “How to Avoid Immediately Forgetting What You Learn,” I mentioned that sleep plays an important role in learning.
While you sleep, memory consolidation occurs. As you sleep, new information and recent experiences get transferred from the hippocampus, a short-term storage site in your brain, to the neocortex, the long-term storage location. Sleep cements new information into your long-term memory and frees up space in the hippocampus for tomorrow’s learning.
Cramming for exams may have helped you pass a test, but have you noticed that the information you crammed into your brain disappeared quickly? Unless you move the information to your neocortex, your long-term memory, it vanishes quickly.
🎨 Sleep, Emotional Well-Being, and Creativity
In addition to your physical well-being and learning, sleep plays a critical role in your emotional well-being and creativity.
I’d like to share what I learned from the book, “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker, Ph.D.
😴👀 Understanding the Two Stages of Sleep: NREM and REM
Sleep, a universal human experience, is a complex process composed of two fundamentally different stages: Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. During a typical night, you cycle through these stages, with NREM serving as a deep sleep, and REM playing a crucial role in dreaming.
While you sleep, you go through cycles of NREM and REM every 90 minutes or so. During the first half of your 7-8 hour sleep period, you have more NREM sleep, and during the second half, you have more REM sleep.
🎭 The Power of REM Sleep for Creativity
During NREM sleep, you store information from your day and build and strengthen this information into new memories and skills.
Then during the REM cycle, you integrate these new raw materials into all your past experiences, helping you build a new model of the world and giving you new innovative insights.
You often hear the expression, “Sleep on it.” This is sound advice since REM sleep provides new insights and perspectives that you didn’t have the day before.
😊 The Importance of REM Sleep for Emotional Intelligence
Another essential role of REM sleep is healing your emotional wounds. REM sleep fine-tunes and recalibrates the emotional circuits of your brain. You need this tuning session every night to face tomorrow and operate at your best.
Consistent high-quality REM sleep is a prerequisite for any emotional control techniques to work. The more you use your emotional circuits during the day, the greater the need for those circuits to be recalibrated during REM sleep.
🌍 How REM Sleep Helped Humans Top the Food Chain
In his book, Walker explains that compared to other primates, Homo sapiens have a disproportionate amount of REM sleep. This evolutionary development played a crucial role in helping Homo sapiens rise to the top of the food chain.
Creativity, problem-solving ability, and emotional intelligence provided by REM sleep have helped us become more advanced than all other primates.
💆Sleep as a Free Nightly Spa Session
Do you try to cut back on sleep to get more done in one day? Sacrificing sleep is not a wise way to accomplish more. Cutting back on sleep hurts not only your physical health and learning but also your emotional IQ and creativity.
If you want to learn better, feel better, and become more creative, prioritize getting sufficient high-quality sleep night after night.
Sleep is a free nightly spa session for your overall well-being. Take advantage of it to be the best version of you!