Illustration by jm.

Chronic sleep loss is the silent creativity killer. It impacts your attention, your memory, your moods, and your ability to “think outside the box.”

In this conversation with University of Pennsylvania sleep researcher Sigrid Veasey, I explore how getting a good night’s rest sets the tone for your entire waking workday. And how so many shortcomings of performance — and patience — can be traced back to a lack of sleep.

We dig into what, exactly, your brain is doing while you’re unconscious (hint: housekeeping), how to figure out what the optimal amount of sleep is for you, and why we should all adopt a pre-bedtime “cool down” routine.

Key takeaways from the conversation:

  • How and why chronic sleep loss impacts your creative problem-solving abilities
  • What to do if you’re waking up with anxiety in the middle of the night (or have insomnia)
  • How to figure out what the optimal amount of sleep is for you
  • What habits to change if you want to get a better night’s rest
  • Why you should take a “sleep vacation”


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Favorite Quotes

“I ask patients to really step back and figure out, ‘What is the amount of sleep you need not to exist but to thrive?’ What’s the amount of sleep that you need to feel energized, excited, enthused about your life, your family, your friends? What’s that amount of sleep?”

“What we’ve only come to realize recently is that the brain is pretty far from resting during sleep… the brain is actively cleaning synapses and reinforcing important ones. So not getting sleep means you’re not doing your house keeping.”

“If you get more sleep, you can a) be more efficient, b) be more creative, and c) be more of a think-outside-the-box person.”


If you want to dive deeper on some of the ideas Sigrid and I discuss:

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