The Brain Guy Visits UnCommon Leadership!

02.11.13 | Posted in Guest Blog, UnCommon Leadership

Terry Small, aka The Brain Guy, from Vancouver, Canada is our guest blogger this week. Terry and I met about three years ago when he led a class on The Leadership Brain with 50+ executives at the High Performance Leadership program in Lausanne, Switzerland. We have become great friends since and I have a lot of respect and admiration for what he does all over the globe – help people understand how important the brain is and how to take better care of it. And, truthfully, I’m just scratching the surface of his talents with that small acknowledgement. He truly is a GENIUS! That, by the way, is his trademark with audiences. Teaching everyone that we all have genius inside of us if we will just acknowledge it!

His contribution this week comes via his Brain Bulletins. I have selected one of the latest of his 83 bulletins on a topic that has become near and dear to me; sleep! You see, for the past five or six years sleep, or lack thereof, has been an issue. And, I was just diagnosed with mild to severe sleep apnea. No excitement in the remedy, but sure thanking God that we finally have an answer. Based on that, we’ll publish some excerpts from his Brain Bulletin about sleep and how important it is to something that just may surprise you.  Take it away Mr. Brain Guy!

Brain Bulletin #83 – A Brain Trick to Keep You Thin

Getting enough sleep keeps you thin.

I have been telling people in my live presentations for years that sleep is very important for brain health. Now there is another good reason to get enough ‘shut-eye’. Accumulating research says that even short-term, partial sleep deprivation can cause weight gain and other negative metabolic consequences.

The day following a ‘less than seven hours of sleep night’ the average person will eat 29% more calories. It seems that a cognitively tired brain doesn’t always make good food choices.

Why does this happen?

Ghrelin and leptin are involved. Ghrelin is involved in sending hunger signals. Leptin helps to tell you when you are full. When don’t get enough sleep your body makes more ghrelin and less leptin. You don’t need me to tell you what happens next…..

Also, consider this. When you don’t get enough sleep:

  • Your neurons don’t secrete the normal amount of the ‘feel good’ chemicals dopamine and serotonin. This is a powerful recipe for craving cake, candy, ice cream, pasta, and bread. (you can probably think of a few other things)
  • Even a 16 minute loss of sleep each night increases the risk of obesity. (as reported in the medical journal “Sleep”)
  • Lack of sleep can raise the level of the stress hormone cortisol. This encourages your body to break down muscle and store fat.
  • Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism.
  • Being awake longer gives you more time and opportunity to eat.
  • When your brain is tired your judgment is impaired and will power is depleted.

The relationship between sleep duration and Body Mass Index is clear.

I think there are two bottom lines:

1. Sleep more. Seven to nine hours.

2. Life isn’t perfect. You won’t always get seven hours of sleep. So, when you don’t, be vigilant. Know that you are likely to make poor food choices. Set yourself up for success.

These links may help you find ways to improve your sleep:

Nine Bad Habits that Can Steal Your Sleep

Seven Foods that Help You Get a Better Sleep

Remember, you eat with your brain. Mindfulness is key.

Congratulations on learning something about your brain today. The Brain Bulletin is committed to help to do just that. If you missed any Brain Bulletins you can find them in the Brain Bulletin Archive: Brain Bulletin Archive

I don’t know about you, but I did just learn something about my brain and sleep. Thank you, Terry for that valuable contribution to helping people become UnCommon Leaders!

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin


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2 Responses to “The Brain Guy Visits UnCommon Leadership!”

  1. Terry Small says:

    Thanks, Ed.

    It is an honour to be included and to call you a friend. It is great to see you so inspired in your work.

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