We used to spend a third of our lives sleeping. That is far less now. We need apps and settings on our smart devices now to make sure we’re kept in check to get the right amount of sleep we need. I notice when I don’t get enough sleep, are also the days I don’t meet my run or activity goals. By the end of the day, I’m to exhausted to even go on a run or hit the tread at the gym.
I’ve also noticed the opposite. On days where I’ve gotten the most and the best sleep possible have been my best runs and work outs. It turns out that when we get enough time for our brains to calm down and enter REM we’re actually improving our wake mind’s capabilities of capturing the emotion of our work outs. Which is where I find my runner’s high comes from.
Turns out when we get to REM sleep our limbic system, which is where our emotional memory lives, becomes 15-20% more active when we’re in our waking hours. This is the area that is most responsible for our sense of free will (Again, why I want to run more during those days I got a ton of sleep.) and self-awareness.
During REM sleep our brains take that time to store all it digested through the day. It essentially uses that down time to get busy storing the information we’ve learned during the day in the memory bank. Dreaming also during this time is a great time the brain uses to problem solve. Simply dreaming keeps the mind emotionally aware. When we don’t get enough time to get into some REM, we don’t dream. Dreaming is a form of self-therapy just like running can be.
Bringing this all together and bridging it between activity/running and our real world, we need sleep. We need to be able to tackle our biggest goals. We need to give our brains time to wind down and process in order to do that. When we don’t give it that time to dream and enter REM we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to be enlightened. Our brains are at their most creative moments when they’re allowed to dream.
Your system is 60% more productive when it gets enough sleep. It has a powerful influence on not just your brain, but your heart as well as immune system. All of which as a runner and as a leader, you can’t be very effective with out.
It’s the weekend and maybe you’re not working this Sunday. Take the day and get some extra sleep. Start your work week this Monday full and refreshed!
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