The closest I ever get to feeling like I have a superpower is when I get enough sleep. When this happens, it’s as if my mind suddenly reaches a higher altitude. I realize from this new vantage point how foggy it has been, how dull. With sleep, I’m more functional. I have better insights and get more done.
Jud Brewer talks about curiosity and an expansion mindset versus anxiety and a contraction mindset. This description resonated with me. When rested, I’m open to thinking new thoughts. My mind can drift more and almost feels lighter. But I can also focus on something in a productive way, pushing it forward.
In contrast, when I’m tired, my thoughts are much more closed in. Rather than focusing, I’m more likely to dwell on things, echoing the same thoughts repeatedly without any advancement. It’s harder for new ideas to get my attention, and I’m more resistant to considering alternatives.
When rested, I’m open to thinking new thoughts. My mind can drift more and almost feels lighter.
I can even feel these differences physically. When tired, my body gets more constricted. I adopt poor posture, which leads to headaches. And headaches certainly do not help me open up a more expansive mindset.
I suspect that none of this is unique to me. I bet most people experience these same benefits. But I also think that a lot of folks delude themselves about how much sleep they need. I know for a small number of people, their bodies truly do require fewer hours a night, but when any actual individual tells me about how four hours a night of sleep is plenty for them, I’m dubious.
All of which makes it that much worse when I say: for many periods over the past year and a half, I’ve often had trouble sleeping well. Again, I don’t think I’m alone in this. If you’re in the same boat, there are plenty of resources out there; you don’t need me to tell you strategies to combat this. Getting exercise and not drinking caffeine too late in the day are a couple of big ones for me, personally. But right now, some of the causes are so much bigger.
I don’t have any magic solutions for you. But I like sleep, and I hope that you do too. I know I feel better when I’m getting it. Over and over, I need to remind myself to stop trying to push through a foggy brain in an attempt to get more done. I’m far better off focusing on getting the rest I need, and good work will follow.