Hi everyone. In my previous blogs I have addressed mindset and awareness as key aspects that affect our performance and results in long term. On similar lines, today I would like to converse on how “sleep” is an integral part of building a solid routine and why it requires our sincere acknowledgement.
Sleep, on an average, comprises one third of our entire lifetime. As a naturally recurring state of mind and body it is one of the most important biological functions which affects our cognition, performance and physical health. Contrary to the popular perception, rather than simply switching off, when we go to sleep our brain engages in a series of specific tasks that are vital to our overall well being. In the latter phase of the sleep, referred to as RapidEyeMovement (aka deep sleep), the brain processes all our experiences from the day and retains it as processed information. This brain activity aids in repairing and consolidation of our memory affecting our overall ability to learn, retain and apply over long term. It is a key aspect that goes on to determine our productivity while we are awake.
While the quality and amount of sleep is crucial to an athlete’s performance, reaction time and recovery time; sleep deprivation can lead to mental fatigue resulting in low alertness levels and thereby poor in-game focus. Top professional athletes including leading poker professionals have repeatedly stressed on the importance of sleep as one of the prime factors that governs performance at the highest level. It is a crucial part of the overall preparation going into a poker session. A consistent and adequate sleep routine lays the groundwork for better decision making by priming us to think clearly and readily, have a grip on our emotions and focus better for longer duration.
Professional poker players have this distinct opportunity to decide their sleep schedule. Yet, more often, this freedom transmutes into a tendency to either sleep too little or oversleep and the importance of having a proper sleep schedule gets neglected. Fixing it is like reforming an old habit; it requires small but consistent changes. Readjusting your environment and conduct, like reducing the exposure to light, meditating a little, reading a book, before going to sleep; can go a long way in shaping the right routine to sort your sleeping schedule. It is the building block of a healthy lifestyle. Getting this aspect right will not just improve your performance on the tables but more principally, boost the overall quality of your life.
Cheers and GL!