In that spirit, I would like to dedicate the first Applied Genius topic to sleep -- and in particular, to Dr. James Maas of Cornell University and his masterpiece Power Sleep. This book, and the method for curing sleep deprivation described therein, changed my life. I had stumbled through graduate school at least 1 hour short of sleep, per day, for years. When I forced myself to adopt the Maas method described below, I got noticeably smarter (and happier). I lost weight. I was significantly more effective at work. And my wife claims that there were other, ahem, improvements.
Sleep is vital to our health. Most of us are chronically short on sleep. Being sleep-deprived makes you cranky, stupid, and a dangerous driver. When you're short on sleep, there's only one way to fix the problem: go to bed earlier. (Sleeping late doesn't work, even though you think it does.) Here's how.
- Set your alarm clock for the time you'd like to awaken (e.g., 7:00 am.) The first day, go to bed at your normal hour. You will notice that the alarm clock will wake you up. "Duh!", we hear you say. But needing an alarm clock is a telltale symptom that you are sleep-deprived.
- Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each day until you wake up naturally a little before the alarm clock rings.
- When you no longer need the alarm clock to wake up at the right time, you are getting enough sleep -- possibly for the first time in a very long time. (You might want to keep the alarm clock set anyhow, just to make sure.)
- A 20-minute power nap in the middle of the day works wonders -- but don't sleep longer than that, no matter how tired you are. Instead, wait an hour or two and have another short nap if you're still groggy.
Dr. Maas, I thank you profoundly for your work in Power Sleep. I hope that Applied Genius readers purchase many, many copies.