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Sleep More, Improve Performance = Worry Less

The brain does not have enough connections to do two complex tasks at the same time, yet we seem to take great pride in referring to how adept we are at multi-tasking. It’s a myth! In fact, not only does it deplete the brain’s resilience, but we actually have less resistance and discipline in the PM hours after a day of multi-tasking. No wonder people often turn to snacking and eating foods they would not choose earlier in the day.

Research has found that women  who tend to multi-task more during the day, use more brain power and need more sleep than their male counterparts. They also feel the effects of sleep loss more acutely. Altering your sleep patterns may reduce anxiety according to researchers at SUNY Binghamton. Of 100 people polled, those who went to bed later and slept for shorter periods had the most severe symptoms of worry and negative thinking.

Everyone knows the sleep warriors, those people who brag about only needing minimal hours in bed, sometimes as few as four. They say that they can accomplish more by rising at 5:00am to hit the ground running and continue at a brisk pace through the day. For the rest of us, six to seven hours of sleep is recommended and of course, eight if possible.

However, sleep plays an important role in our physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

So, who’s right and is there a true debate around what is necessary to maintain good health for everyone? A simple starting point is to check-in with yourself. Do you find that you are exhausted, irritable and anxious? Do you regularly hit the snooze button or take a long time to get going in the morning? Are you feeling sluggish and not fully engaged until mid-morning?

A new routine could be the answer and good sleep hygiene includes consistent behaviors that signal a slowing down at the end of the day. Setting an alarm for a bedtime as well as a wake-up time may be the additional reminder to help you begin a more disciplined approach to sleep.


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