Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not in the right frame of mind? Get more sleep!


Why am I writing about sleep? Well, no obvious reason. As usual, I stumbled upon a short clip "The Power of Sleep" on CBS website. Another interesting clip, also on sleep, has an interesting title, "How to succeed - Get more Sleep". Actually I've been reading my student's doctoral (Ph.D.) thesis for the past few days. Nowadays my mind get tired easily, perhaps because it's constantly being fed with reading too much of technical things. Reading critically can really drain my energy, not to mention my eyes - and the strain on the neck, back... So how do I deal with the stress? More readings...and listening! This is my escapism, or...hmmm...shall I say, my recreational activity! I like to read blog, mainly educational blog (read this article: 10 reasons to get educators blogging). I have a long list of websites and blogs in my browser's bookmark.I also subscribe via RSS feed (I'm using iGoogle and Pageflakes). Now I'm rebuilding the bookmark in Diigo and hopefully I can share with the world.

Reading topics outside my own specialization sort of ease my mind. It's my way of relaxing. I like to read short blog article mainly on these topics: teaching, learning, education, research, presentation skills, brain science (cognitive), e-learning, and...comedy! I especially like to watch short video clip on YouTube, Teacher Tube, TED, Times Magazine, CBS, Discovery Channel, etc.These video sharing sites are really goldmine of educational resources for students, educators, and lifelong learners. I remember many years ago (before YouTube time), I was looking for a video showing the processing step of producing wheat flour (from grain to flour). There was none to be found on the internet. Finally I had to order the video (on CD-ROM) from the Australian Wheat Board. Nowadays this is no longer an issue. People are ever willing to share via various popular video sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Blips.TV, etc.

Now, back to the topic on sleep. Watch (listen) the following short presentation, "How to Succeed - Get More Sleep" by Arianna Huffington in TED Talks. She says, in the nutshell, you need to get enough sleep to enable you to think clearly and unlock billions of brilliant ideas. Hmmm...Her secret of a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is...getting enough sleep! I hope the secret is not patented! She says sometimes we don't see the big picture simply because we are not able to focus our thought - we cannot think straight. Yes, I think it's true, to some extent. I don't need to dig deep into the scientific databases to look for evidence, although as a researcher myself I like to substantiate any arguments with evidence. I have experienced myself that there are days when I don't get enough sleep (my fault, poor time management) and the next day I feel sluggish. Sometimes when I have a discussion (with students or colleagues) I have to apologise, "I'm sorry, I'm not in the right frame of mind" - or simply put, "I can't focus".



She added, "And they think that means that they (political, finance, business leaders) are so incredibly busy and productive, but the truth is they're not, because we at the moment, have had brilliant leaders in business, in finance, in politics, making terrible decisions. So a high I.Q. does not mean that you're a good leader, because the essence of leadership is being able to see the iceberg before it hits the Titanic. And we've had far too many icebergs hitting our Titanics".

Now we have good reason to have more sleep. So, I guess it's time to sleep now. Let's get enough sleep and tomorrow we can wake up fresh and we can unleash and unlock the brilliant ideas that have been dormant and tucked away in the dark corner of our brain...

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