Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Power of Sleep

It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do.

Sleep makes everything seem simpler. It puts things into perspective. We have stupid dreams as our mind does a big "defrag" and sorts through all the various inputs from the day.

I once worked with a guy whose method of operating was to thrash at problems. He would work right through the night and expect the rest of us to do the same. It made me feel conscientious and fed my work ethic, but it also made me feel really tired and flat! I'm sure I was less productive as a result of pushing myself so hard. How much better it is to wake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

I'm learning to trust that my brain will find a way, even when the problem seems insoluble. Invariably when I "sleep on it", when morning comes, I find a way forward. And often that is all that is needed - a next step that you can take towards a solution.

Expecting to solve a problem in a single session of discussion or brainstorming is unrealistic. The brain needs time to reflect, to allow everything to "bubble". Present questions for people to consider, and return to the the issue on another day, when sleep has done its work.

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