To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

20 Apr

Some time ago a group of managers were about to hire a candidate.  The Admin came in and asked ‘”who?”  When she heard the answer her face fell, she said “really?” and so we asked for her input.  Apparently the person treated her with condescension and distain.  We were bewildered and she suggested we “sleep on it.”

Two lessons from this event:

First, we learned and were surprised by the fact that there are some people, fortunately not many, who seem to have two sets of behavior. One set for their managers and peers and another set for those below them in the pecking order.

Second, we learned that events and decisions often look very different the next morning. Doris intuitively knew if we caught some ZZZs, we would make the right decision.

Scientists have been studying sleep for several decades, and much is known about normal and abnormal sleep. The most important fact is that sleep deprivation has many negative cognitive, emotional and physical effects. In fact, research on animals shows that if completely deprived of sleep, some will die. What is most important to know is that sleep goes through a series of 90- to 110-minute cycles, and in one of these of these cycles, where rapid eye movement, loss of muscle tonus and dreaming occur, the brain appears to be actively processing. No one is sure what the brain is processing but this stage, called REM, seems to be the critical element of sleep. For more on sleep see Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep.

Over the years, I have learned never to be pushed into decisions without sleeping on them. A wondrous thing, the human mind working for us even when we are sleeping.

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3 Responses to “To Sleep, Perchance To Dream”

  1. David Bywater May 21, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Add exercise as well. It does wonders to clear the head and bring focus.

  2. hollidayaimeec May 29, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    I agree. I sadly usually only get 5….If I’m lucky 6 hours of sleep during the week. I notice that the more days in a row that I get the lack of sleep I need the less focused and enthused I am at work and with my daily tasks.


  1. Introversion #2: Brain-storming « Managers Into Leaders - March 21, 2012

    […] spontaneously ask me a Q in a group setting I can give you a fair to good answer, but if you let me sleep on it I will give you a better, perhaps superb answer.  It is clear that the brain cycles during sleep […]

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