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Work more efficiently, sleep less like IT billionaires? The 10 best tips and facts

Working efficiently and sleeping as little as possible is a current trend, for example among IT billionaires - and not only counterproductive, but also harmful to health. If you want to understand this, you have to deal with the function of the body.

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Sleep like an IT billionaire?

If you want to be rich and famous, you don't have to sleep much, you might think, if you look at this trend: Leonardo da Vinci was said to have slept irregularly, but worked until he got tired. Then, no matter what time of day or night, he went to sleep for four hours. He then worked again until he got tired. He was not interested in whether and when da Vinci got tired. He went to sleep when the time came. And he worked until it was time. He does not seem to have had a pronounced day or night rhythm.

Ernest Hemingway, on the other hand, worked at a standing desk, pen in one hand, drink in the other, sleeping was out of the question. Victor Hugo, on the other hand, usually wrote in the bedroom, and from time to time his servant had to hide his clothes until he had finished his workload. Billionaire Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer told me in an interview that he uses his cell phone to sleep next to the bed and unfortunately needs 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night, but is working to reduce it. And Marissa Mayer, ex-CEO at Yahoo, is said to be getting by with little sleep. This is what a former colleague says about Marissa Mayer:

“I met her once at dinner in New York; she was literally falling asleep in her soup. She said, 'Normally, I can get by on 4 hours of sleep a night, and I thought I could get by on 3. But I can't.' ”

How famous people sleep

The fact that people artificially reduce their sleep in order to seem to be able to do more is, however, not a special feature of modernity: Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), founder of archeology and art history, read many old works in Greek, which he mostly or precisely Midnight did. Then he went to bed until four o'clock and then continued reading. It is reported that during the summer months he slept on a bench and tied a block of wood to his leg. If this block of wood got out of balance due to Winckelmann's movements and thundered to the ground, Winckelmann was awake and continued to work. The classical philologist and antiquarian Friedrich August Wolf (1759-1824), who also inspired Goethe, only slept two nights a week for six months when he wanted to familiarize himself with a new topic. In order not to fall asleep, he sat bare feet in ice-cold water. Sometimes he covered his eye to spare it. Winston Churchill, on the other hand, has the following quote:

“Between lunch and dinner you have to sleep, and not half things. Take off your clothes and go to bed - and don't think you can do less work if you sleep during the day. It's a stupid idea from people with no imagination. They will do even more. ”

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Permanently too little sleep is harmful to health

These numerous examples of prominent personalities show that the way people deal with sleep is as contradictory as the results of the various scientific analyzes: On the one hand, there is a certain consensus among scientists and health experts that a sleep schedule of less than seven hours has a rather harmful effect in the long run , So Prof. Dr. Dr. Angela Schuh, head of the medical climatology / health services research at spa medicine at the LMU Chair for Public Health and Health Services Research (IBE) and co-initiator of the study

“Good, restful sleep is essential for the functioning of the immune system, metabolism and hormones and has a major impact on the performance and well-being of the population. At the same time, epidemiological studies show that sleep disorders are among the most common complaints and symptoms that are associated with a variety of physical and mental health disorders. "

Everyone sleeps differently

On the other hand, there is also research that concludes that intelligent people go to bed later than less intelligent people. In short: both postponed bedtime and getting up early are celebrated. The conflict is obvious: On the one hand, everything speaks in favor of the fact that one should necessarily sleep at least seven hours a day as a prerequisite for a healthy, long life. At the same time, however, “active people” tend to go to bed late and be on their feet before everyone else.

This apparent contradiction is explained Dr. med. Hans-Martin Beyer, medical director of the Enzensberg medical care center in Hopfen am See and, as a sleep expert, also a member of the “Healthy sleep through inner order” network in Füssen:

How Chronobiology Works

“The vegetative nervous system and the“ internal clock ”work closely together. It seems that the vegetative or autonomic nervous system is the instrument for implementing the biological rhythms - the "internal clock"! The sympathetic types tend to be early risers and are otherwise very active. The parasympathetic types tend to be nocturnal and otherwise rather passive. Both types complement each other well, e.g. in relationships. However, we also know that toddlers are extremely early risers, while teenagers are more likely to be owls. In their mid-twenties, for example, the young women tend to get up early and the young men tend to be active in the evening. With increasing age, however, the boundaries become more and more blurred. In any case, many people are mixed types, there are only a small percentage of rich owls or larks. But if the chronobiology is genetically determined: Which adjusting screws can we then turn? It is interesting to see how chronobiology and the environment interact. It would actually be ideal if people could live and work according to their genetically determined rhythm. Unfortunately, this is often not possible in our modern working life, because Company set their own rhythm. Other exogenous factors are the hormones: adrenaline and noradrenaline are for example the hormones of the sympatheticus, especially when the adrenalinespiegel If it is too high, for example from stress or the constant blue light from LCD screens when doing (too much) computer work, it becomes difficult to sleep. I therefore recommend no more than 4 hours of computer work a day. It also helps to structure the daily rhythm so that the body produces less adrenaline. Extreme sunlight, for example at noon, also promotes the adrenaline rush. The sympathetic types in particular therefore need a certain amount of structure and a lot of movement. For the parasympathetic types, rest and relaxation are more important. An owl is more likely to get going with speed exercises, while the lark is more suitable for endurance sports. Studies have been carried out in which the test subjects were specifically deprived of sleep at night and only allowed to sleep the next day. The adrenalinespiegel then did not decrease any more and sleep was much less restful. This is also the problem with jet lag: the body adapts slowly to the new time, it usually takes 3-5 days. It is helpful, for example, to always stay in your own time, for example with regard to meal times, because digestion does not understand such shifts either. How can the adrenalinespiegel sink? For example, by a sleep stimulus such as cool water, and then we are in Kneipp hydrotherapy. It is important to be cool, not cold, because too strong a cold stimulus increases adrenalinespiegel only again. It is much better to lower the core temperature of the body in the alcohol range by rubbing yourself with a cold washcloth. Hydrotherapy also causes something else, namely hardening, i.e. adaptation to different climatic conditions. As we usually stay in well-tempered rooms these days, our bodies have forgotten how to adapt to constant weather changes and we suffer accordingly. The hydrotherapy with its constant alternation between cold and warm can help to restore the natural adjustment, which is extremely important for the immune system and hormonal balance. Digestion also plays an important role in healthy sleep: Eating should actually be done by 19 p.m. or 20 p.m. at the latest. Raw food is also quite difficult to digest in the evening, it is better to combine it with some fat, for example. Everything in moderation. Otherwise, vegetarian food is good in the evening. "

The 10 best facts and tips about sleep

But what is the best advice to sleep better and healthier? Does it help, for example, to lie down at midday using the Churchill method? Or a changing rhythm like with Leonardo da Vinci? I dont know. Nevertheless, I don't want to withhold a purely subjective selection of the facts and best tips about sleep that I think are most interesting.

  1. 7 hours of sleep are obviously optimal, not just for the heart.
  2. Immediately before important events such as exams you should sleep as much as possible.
  3. We should definitely sleep longer before making important decisions.
  4. The number of our friends apparently has an impact on the quality of our sleep
    As Sympaticus types, early risers are generally more active than late risers
  5. Exercise: Those who exercise during the day and keep moving are better able to fall asleep. It's a truism, but exercise remains one of the most efficient sleep promoters.
  6. Not too high room temperature: The best place to sleep is at a maximum of 18 degrees. If it is too warm in the room, the sleep quality suffers immediately.
  7. Inner order: end the day. Postpone big problems that have not yet been resolved until tomorrow. To go offline!
  8. The smartphone and radio telephones should be kept as far away from the bed as possible - except temporarily if you use it to analyze your own sleep.
  9. Get up immediately when the alarm clock rings: That gets the adrenaline pumping.
  10. Keep a sleep diary and record exactly how you slept and what improvements certain aids have led to.

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