But it’s reciprocal. If you have a better day’s wake and you get more done and you’re more productive, it actually causes you to have a better night’s sleep. And this is sort of a reinforcing cycle and it works really great.
And I’m a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t figure out these techniques until years in my life. I started studying sleep before I realized these good night’s sleep habits and these great productivity habits.
And when I think about that, I actually kind of get a little frustrated, because when I was in school, I had sex education, nutrition education, drug awareness-resistance education, but no one ever told me how to go to bed and no one ever told me how I could get more done during the day.
These are things I just picked up on my own. And I think these are so valuable things that we could actually be teaching high school kids and college kids.
And so just recently, at Williams College, we actually taught our first course called The Science of Sleep and the Art of Productivity, and I was really afraid that no one would sign up for this class. And in the end, it turned out people were hungry for it.
College students overenrolled in the class and we wound up letting a lot more people in than we initially intended. But it was amazing. They loved learning about sleep habits, they loved talking about how they could get more done during the day, and it worked out really well.
And now what we’re trying to do is take these messages and spread them across our campus and the community, to try to embrace a culture of sleep that everyone is proud of.
Because it’s really true: no one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep. This is true.
But the opposite is also true: nobody looks back on their life and remembers the times they were exhausted, right?
And I hate this picture of me, but the funny thing about this day is I don’t remember a single thing about this day. The only reason I remember this is because a picture was taken of me. I remember the times I was awake and alert, and I had a life of good experiences when I was awake, not when I was exhausted.
And I choose to optimize those times now. I choose to try to be awake as much as I can so I can enjoy those great experiences with my family and with my friends.
So I think the take-home message is to get a good night’s sleep not because it’s fun, but because it makes you so much happier during the day. And this is what I wish for all of you.
I wish that everybody has a good night’s sleep for a better day’s wake, and a better day’s wake for a good night’s sleep.
Download This Transcript as PDF here: The Science of Sleep and the Art of Productivity_ Dr. Matthew Carter (Transcript)
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