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Sleep Scientists Confirm Getting To Work Before 9 AM Is Torture

Sleep Scientists Confirm Getting To Work Before 9 AM Is Torture

Sleep deprivation is wreaking havoc on our society. We are just not getting enough of this valuable commodity. According to sleep experts at The Wright State University, this lack of sleep is contributing to fatigue, which accounts for about 10% of fatal car accidents. It also means that waking up early and getting to work before 9 am is a form of institutionalized torture. It increases the risk of us getting major illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Here are a few major findings from the sleep scientists which suggest that starting work at 10 am might be much more civilized and healthier for us.

Starting school and work later is natural

Paul Kelley is a neuroscientist and his research has convinced him, and many others, that a later start time in the day could be enormously beneficial for both students and adult workers. He knows that millennials (the current 18-34 age group) are not getting enough sleep and they make up one third of the workforce at the moment, according to PEW research. Both teens and adults need their beauty sleep. Test scores and work productivity would improve, Kelley claims.

“This is a huge society issue – staff should start at 10 a.m. You don’t get back to [a natural 9 a.m schedule] starting point until 55. Staff are usually sleep-deprived. We’ve got a sleep-deprived society. It is hugely damaging on the body’s systems because you are affecting physical emotional and performance systems in the body.” — Paul Kelley, neuroscientist

Sleepy workers do not perform well

There is loads of research which suggests that some of our mental functions, such as concentration, logical reasoning, mathematical ability, and memory, are all dependent on a good night’s sleep. The part of the brain which helps us do all these things is called the prefrontal cortex (PFC). When we do not get enough sleep, the PFC goes into crash mode and hardly functions at all. If you ever wondered why colleagues in your office are pretty slow in the mornings, you now know why!

Sleep deprivation not only makes for a very slow start in the mornings, but can also have other serious consequences, such as poor performance, depression, diabetes, and weight gain.

“Young children need ten hours of sleep per night, preadolescents about nine hours, and adolescents, research shows, also need about nine hours of sleep per night. And for adults, the recommendation is somewhere between seven and nine, depending upon the individual.” — James E. Gangwisch, Columbia University sleep expert.

How to solve the problem

Nobody knows how to solve this difficult problem. Civil servants in a western Turkey province are allowed to start work at 9:30 am instead of 8:30 am — provided they spend the time exercising. This is an effort to beat obesity, but can anyone tell me who is going to monitor these people? I bet most will have a good old lie-in and turn up in sneakers, saying they have just run 5 miles and they are exhausted!

A much more practical solution would be to persuade your boss that you function better with a later start and you are prepared to work an hour more. But beware!

Flextime sounds fine and dandy, but there is still some stigma attached to a later start. Yes, some managers still associate how well you work with your work start time. If you start work later, you might be thought of as less conscientious. This will carry through to your performance assessment — so don’t say I haven’t warned you. This is the alarming conclusion of the research carried out by the University of Washington and published in the Harvard Business Review.

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Unless you work at Google, Microsoft, or some other forward-thinking companies, it seems sensible to heed Benjamin Franklin’s motto,

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

A much easier solution is to try reducing all that blue light coming from electronic devices and computers late at night and simply go to bed an hour earlier — it’s not rocket science!

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Featured photo credit: Hard work can hurt/normalityrelief via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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