This is another speech I’ve given in Toastmasters, and it’s part of Competent Communicator manual, Project #7: “Research Your Topic“.
As a reminder, the objectives of the project are:
- Collect information about your topic from numerous sources
- Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples, and illustrations gathered through research
With that in mind, here is the speech I gave:
Margaret Thatcher, first British female prime minister, has once been heard saying that “sleeping is for wimps”. This seems to be nowadays pretty much the standard way we look upon sleep, however, it turns out that sleeping is a much needed activity for our bodies and it has some very beneficial effects, some of which I’m going to introduce you to today.
1. Improves athletic abilities
- Research conducted by Stanford University shows that college football players who tried to sleep 10 hours or more a night for 2 months or more have improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.
2. Sleeping helps with losing weight
- Research shows that people who are well rested lose more body fat than people who are sleep deprived (on a similar diet). They both end up losing the same weight interestingly, but the sleep deprived ones lose a lot more muscle weight, compared to the well rested individuals who lose mainly body fat.
3. Helps with your diet
- In line with the previous one, studies show that people who don’t sleep enough feel more hungry and eat more than the ones who are well rested.
4. Helps with depression
- Lack of sleep has been proven to contribute to depression, and a good night sleep can really help someone suffering with depression to decrease their anxiety levels.
5. Sleeping improves memory and helps with learning.
- Memory and learning work hand in hand and they are the result of 3 functions:
- ACQUISITION – this refers to the introduction of new information into the brain
- CONSOLIDATION – the process by which a memory becomes stable
- RECALL – the ability to access the information after it has been stored (or consolidated)
- While acquisition and recall only takes place during wakefulness (that is we observe new things or remember new things while we’re awake), research conducted by Harvard Medical School shows that consolidation takes place during sleep. Even more so, the research shows that most of the memory consolidation happens during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – which is when most dreams occur.
6. Improves creativity
- In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, the brain reorganizes and restructures them, which may result in more creativity.
As you can see, sleep has a huge impact on our lives – the way we sleep today impacts the way we will be tomorrow!
We all know that our future depends on our dreams – so I say let’s all go to sleep and start dreaming!