Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance

Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance

by David J. Axelrod

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"Rest is the basis of dynamic activity. . . . Want to be more creative, loving, and successful? Follow Dr. Maas's powerful practical advice for doing less but accomplishing more."        
--Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., author of The Power of 5 and TM

"As the world speeds up and shrinks, physical energy and mental activity increase in importance, particularly with the drag of jet travel and 55-plus-hour workweeks. . . .  Here is a handbook for successful survival."        
--William E. Phillips, former chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather

Do your eyelids feel heavy during afternoon meetings? Do you use caffeine to stay alert? Need a glass of wine to fall asleep? An alarm to get out of bed? These are all symptoms of sleep deficiency--signals that you are operating below your peak performance and beneath your mental capacity.

Despite popular perceptions, sleep is not a luxury--it is a necessity. Over 100 million Americans are sleep-deprived, and make crucial business and personal decisions in an impaired state. In Power Sleep, Dr. James B. Maas, pioneer of sleep research at Cornell University, provides an easy, drug-free way to improve your body and brain for an alert and productive tomorrow. With adequate sleep, your potential is renewed every morning.

Dr. Maas has lectured to top corporations around the country and the world on the importance of sleep. He has collected all of his research and time-tested formulas to create a lucid and easy program geared specifically toward helping you achieve peak performance in every aspect of your life. In Power Sleep, you'll find:

The golden rules of sleep
Twenty great sleep strategies
Do's and don'ts of sleeping pills and over-the-counter remedies
How to combat travel fatigue, including jet lag and drowsy driving
Tips for exhausted parents of newborns, infants, and toddlers
How to overcome sleep disorders, including insomnia

An important and practical book, Power Sleep will help you get the sleep you need to quickly and dramatically improve your mental and physical well-being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307819444
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/22/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

James B. Maas, Ph.D., is professor, Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, and past chairman of the Department of Psychology at Cornell Uni-versity. He is a recipient of the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Educator Award. Dr. Maas makes frequent appearances on such programs as NBC Nightly News, Prime Time Live, the Today show, and Good Morning America.

Read an Excerpt

Ask this question and you’ll hear some interesting answers. The prolific inventor Thomas Edison slept three or four hours at night, regarding sleep as a waste of time, “a heritage from our cave days.” President Clinton grabs five to six hours. The performer Janis Joplin never wanted to sleep for fear she might miss a good party. Martha Stewart, an expert on planning good parties, only sleeps four to five hours each night. The comedian Jay Leno manages five hours and the millions of Americans who stay up to watch his late-night TV show won’t get much more.
Then there are those at the other end of the sleep-length spectrum. Albert Einstein claimed he needed ten hours of sleep to function well. President Calvin Coolidge demanded eleven. Nighttime sleep wasn’t adequate for Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. They took naps (and, incidentally, so did Edison). As Reagan half jokingly remarked to members of the press, “No matter what time it is, wake me up, even if it’s in the middle of a cabinet meeting.
Ask Grandma her “expert” opinion and you’ll get an earful of advice on sleep needs and strategies:
               Everybody needs a good eight hours of sleep.
               A heavy meal makes you sleepy.
               Snacks before bedtime aren’t good for you.
               Sleep before midnight is best.
               Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
               Older people need less sleep.
Just a friendly warning: Grandmother psychology is sometimes on target, but not always.
Since everybody on earth sleeps at least once every twenty-four hours, we should all be experts. Knowledge about sleep, just like knowledge about nutrition and exercise, is essential to your life, for happiness, productivity, and general health. Everyone should know exactly how much sleep he or she requires to feel wide awake, dynamic, and energetic all day long. Everyone should know the strategies and techniques for getting quality nocturnal sleep for maximum daytime performance. And everyone should know how to cope with sleep deprivation when it does occur. But, alas, we are grossly ignorant when it comes to our own need for sleep.
In today’s frenetic society people who sleep six hours or less are regarded as being tough, competitive, and ambitious. If you say you need lots of sleep you run the risk of being perceived as one who lacks what it takes to be successful. Maybe you’ll even be regarded as lazy. Can people function well on six or seven hours of sleep? Or does everyone actually need eight or more hours to ensure good health and optimal daytime performance? Do men need more sleep than women? Do you need less sleep as you get older? When is the best time to exercise if you want a good night’s sleep? Does a glass of wine before bedtime help you sleep better? Can you accurately assess how well you slept last night? What’s the ideal bedroom temperature? Are naps good for you? Strangely enough, few of us can accurately answer even the most basic questions regarding sleep. We’ll test your “sleep IQ” and your “sleep strategies” in the next chapter. Expect to fail, but that’s okay. Otherwise, this book would not be necessary.
Ask yourself:
               How much sleep do I get each night during the week?
               Does it differ on the weekends?
               Do I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow?
               Do I need an alarm clock to wake me up?
If you’re getting less than eight hours of sleep each night, including weekends, or if you fall asleep instantly, or need an alarm clock to wake up, consider yourself one of millions of chronically sleep- deprived people—perhaps blissfully ignorant of how sleepy and ineffective you are, or how dynamic you could be with adequate sleep. We’ll test your “sleep deprivation” in the next chapter. Again, expect to fail; you’ll be joined by the majority of our teenage and adult population.
According to sleep experts, if you want to be fully alert, in a good mood, mentally sharp, creative, and energetic all day long, you might need to spend at least one third of your life sleeping. Over an average lifetime that’s a commitment of nearly twenty-four years in bed!
Who can afford so much time asleep? Motivational speakers make big money encouraging us to spend less time sleeping and more time working. They’ll try to convince you that you can condition yourself to sleep just four hours a night. Yes, you can condition yourself to wake up after four hours. But I’ve got news for you. There’s a definite downside that you’re not being told.… Reading this book will provide some illuminating facts that might save your career, your health, and even your life.
Given that you might need to spend at least a third of your life sleeping, you should know what’s going on. As I mentioned in my introduction, sleep is not a vast wasteland of inactivity. The sleeping brain is highly active at various times during the night, performing numerous physiological, neurological, and biochemical housekeeping tasks. These are essential for everything from maintaining life itself to reorganizing and enhancing thinking and memory. This enables us to remember the past, organize the present, and anticipate the future.
The process of sleep, if given adequate time and the proper environment, provides tremendous power. It restores, rejuvenates, and energizes the body and brain. The third of your life that you should spend sleeping has profound effects on the other two thirds of your life, in terms of alertness, energy, mood, body weight, perception, memory, thinking, reaction time, productivity, performance, communication skills, creativity, safety, and good health.
If our sleep is limited, our health and daytime potential is significantly reduced, if not destroyed. With adequate sleep and its concomitant brain activity, the world is our oyster … a pretty good deal for something that is enjoyable to do and doesn’t take much, if any, effort!
Before Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light in 1879, most people slept ten hours each night, a duration we’ve just recently discovered is ideal for optimal performance. When activity no longer was limited by the day’s natural light, sleep habits changed. Over the next century we gradually reduced our total nightly sleep time by 20 percent, to eight hours per night.2 But that’s not nearly the end of the story. Recent studies indicate that Americans now average seven hours per night, approximately two and a half hours less than ideal.3 Amazingly, and foolishly, one third of our population is sleeping less than six hours each night. Are we losing our minds?
In just the last twenty years we have added 158 hours to our annual working and commuting time—the equivalent of a full month of working hours.4 According to Dr. William Dement, professor of medicine at Stanford University, working mothers with young children have added 241 hours to their work and commuting schedules since 1969. Those who also provide care for aging parents who may have age-related sleep problems might be doubly vulnerable to loss of sleep.
We now live in a twenty-four-hour society, a “rat race” where sleep is not valued. With heavy demands of work, household chores, parenting and family responsibilities, and a desire for social life, exercise, and recreation, four out of every ten of us are cutting back on sleep to gain time for what seems more important or interesting. This can be an extremely costly and dangerous mistake. Stop sleeping altogether and you will die. Large periods of sleep deprivation, as often occur in brainwashing of war captives or cult members, “can cause even heroically patriotic citizens to denounce their own nations and ideals, to sign patently false declarations, and to join political movements that have been lifelong anathemas to them,” notes J. Allan Hobson, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.5 People who by choice or because of work, illness, or force of circumstance go without sleep for five to ten days become irrational, paranoid, confused, and even hallucinatory.
Few of us are subjected to such extreme sleep loss. But most of us, consciously or unconsciously, occasionally if not chronically, deprive ourselves or others of adequate sleep. Can we adapt to minimal sleep without feeling drowsy and experiencing a decline in mood and performance?
On a day the White House planned to bask in good economic news. President Clinton instead exploded in anger at reporters’ questions.… Within an hour of his comments, Clinton summoned the reporter … Bill Plante of CBS News, to apologize for losing his temper. Clinton said he hadn’t been sleeping much since the July 17 crash of TWA Flight 800.
Let’s look at some statistics:
• High school and college students are among the most sleep-deprived people in our population. Thirty percent fall asleep in class at least once a week.
On November 25, 1991, when President George Bush spoke at an Ohio high school, “At least a third of the high school students were clearly asleep in the overheated auditorium.…” If these students can’t stay awake for the President, it’s no wonder teachers can’t keep them awake.
• Thirty-one percent of all drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in their lifetime.8 The National Sleep Foundation reports that each year on our highways at least 100,000 accidents and 1,500 fatalities (the equivalent of four fully loaded Boeing 747 airplanes) are due to falling asleep at the wheel.9 This is a very conservative estimate, as most states do not keep adequate statistics. The actual annual figures might be as high as 200,000 accidents and 5,000 fatalities (the equivalent of twelve fully loaded 747s). In addition to the tragic loss of lives, these accidents cost American society more than $30 billion annually.
In 1990 a high school student in New Hampshire who had been named America’s Safest Teen Driver fell asleep at the wheel around 5 P.M., drifting over the yellow line into oncoming traffic. He killed himself and the nineteen-year-old female driver of another car. According to his father, “Safe driving was an obsession with him. The question of why he didn’t recognize the fatigue and respond to it is something we will never know.
• The transportation industry is being hit hard by the ravages of sleep deprivation on the highways, the rails, at sea, and in the air. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, “Fatigue is the No. 1 factor that detrimentally impacts the ability of pilots.”
In the PBS television documentary “Sleep Alert,” a Boeing 747 captain noted: “It is not unusual for me to fall asleep in the cockpit, wake up twenty minutes later and find the other two crew members totally asleep.”12 In another report, “A Boeing 757 captain told how his forehead hit the control column on his approach to New York’s Kennedy airport as the need for sleep became overwhelming.

What People are Saying About This

Ken Blanchard

"A revolutionary and powerful approach to success in the workplace. Jim Maas's guide will help you achieve peak performance when everyone else is asleep at the switch."

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Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gcraigm More than 1 year ago
A colleague loaned me this book when I wasn't performing up to potential. After reading it I bought myself a copy and gave two copies to friends. It changed my entire view of how sleep is part of our lives. Who knew we know so little about our own sleep? Some things in this book are common sense, but most are surprising, unexpected or even counter intuitive. A bit pedestrian at times, but that makes it all the more accessible. Anyone can and everyone should read a book like this on sleep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Maas has gotten it correct. He dispels the myths in society about sleep. I have no sleep disorders, and STILL found that using some of the simple rules of sleeping, napping, etc. to give me energy to burn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Power Sleep is a dynamic and lucid book that I highly recommend to any individual who wants to live a more stress free life and maximize his or her daytime performance. As a first year college student, I did not realize the vitality of sleep in my life. Many college students do not realize how the amount of continuous nocturnal sleep they get affects other aspects of their life, including their ability to retain new information; however, Dr. Maas crystallizes these points. Dr. Maas¿ lucidity and practicality allow the reader to fully comprehend and conceptualize the information presented. For example, instead of Maas using dreary drawn-out language to describe the nightly sleep cycle, he incorporates friendly diagrams and brief explanations. Dr. Maas uses writing techniques which promote reader participation. For example, throughout the book, Maas asks several rhetorical questions, such as, ¿are you getting enough sleep?¿ These questions stimulate the reader to have a mental response, and therefore, interact with the book. Dr. Maas, fully achieved his purpose of informing the reader about the importance of sleep and ways of overcoming sleep deprivation. Read the book with intentions to change your life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the information contained in the book and have since actively implemented allot of it. It has helped me sleep much better and my health has improved because of it. It is remarkable how much disinformation is circulated in our culture about sleep. It is nice to see what science has found out and be able to apply it. Even better when it works! I think everyone should know the basics contained in this book.