During Part 1 of my three part series on asking about sleep, I looked at the question of “How much sleep a night do you get?” mostly from the view point of the interviewee. In this part I will try to look at it from a general perspective.
I was driving the other day running some errands. A couple of blocks from my house is a new library. I see cars going that direction often and usually pay it no mind. Except the other day I noticed a bumper sticker. I find bumper stickers more impactful these days because they are applied less frequently than they were in the past. Anyway, the bumper sticker said “Read your kids a bedtime story.”
This person feels it is important for parents to read to their kids before their kids fell asleep. I haven’t seen any studies but no one refutes the value of routine reading to kids before bedtime. There are several positives from this activity. To name a few: it is good bonding time, it inspires the creativity of the child, it helps develop the social and cultural norms of the society, and it is educational.
These elements, as well as others I omitted, also help with memory retention. Matthew Walker (Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California at Berkley) recently ran a study that found that memory is improved because of a good night sleep. More information can be found in this clip from 60 Minutes.
So not only is it important to get a good night sleep for physical reasons but it is important for educational reasons as well. Suppose I worked for a team that needed salient thought for problem solving. This team doesn’t benefit from brute force work (quality time over quantity time). I would work all day with the team to draw out all the complexity of the situation. I mean I would put it all on the table – show it for what it is. I then would have each team member absorb it. We would then take a dinner break and come back an hour before bed time. Prior to bedtime, I would ask the team again to review the problem. I would then tell the team that I would see them back around 11:00 the next day – assuming this would provide the opportunity for everyone to sleep at least eight hours.
Would I expect miracles the next day? Nope, not at all. I expect the process to begin though, the process of idea fortification. Now the team gets to benefit from each individual’s ability to soak in the problem and the parameters. Some of the advantages is that it is good bonding time, it inspires creativity, it helps develop social and cultural positioning, and it improves the education of the team. Sound familiar? Sleep on it.