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Brainhack by Neil Pavitt

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23 Sleep Well

“Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

This is the most important of all brainhacks.

Sleep.

Sleep offers so many benefits. A lot of the time we think if we're busy we can get by on less sleep and extra caffeine. But if you want your brain to function better and to be more productive, sweet dreams will always beat a strong coffee.

Now I'm sure you've experienced those annoying people who say they can function just as well on four hours of sleep as you can on seven or eight.

Well, they're right and they're wrong. Studies have found that a sleep-deprived person can in fact deliver exactly the same results in any exercise as someone who isn't sleep deprived.

The problem comes when you lose focus. Whether we are sleep deprived or not, we're all going to lose focus at certain times.

Dr Clifford Saper, of Harvard University, said: “The brain of the sleep-deprived individual is working normally sometimes, but intermittently suffers from something akin to power failure.”1

If you've had a good night's sleep and you lose focus, your brain can compensate for that by increasing attention. But for anyone who is sleep deprived, they haven't got the brainpower to steer themselves back to being focused.

What's even worse, sleep-deprived people don't realize their performance has decreased.

Professor Michael Chee, the lead researcher at Harvard, said: “The periods of apparently ...

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