When I became aware that I had a faster neurobag for a brain than most people, I started to note differences between myself and others. This became a formal pursuit as a partial focus of my undergraduate and graduate training: How does the human mind worked so as to improve my own? The number one apparent difference between myself and others was my metabolism and its impact on sleep.
Normally and naturally, I sleep about five hours a night, often in two blocks with a gap of an hour or so in between. This split sleeping was most pronounced in undergraduate school when I slept from 4 to 6:30 twice a day. Except for snap naps, I never was tired. The 3-hour longer days basically gave me the benefits of 8 days a week.
Amazing what you can do when your day is almost 20% longer than your peers. Amazing what fun you can have on the weekends between the time students normally go to sleep (1am-2am) and going to sleep at 4am.
Complimenting extra hours from needing less sleep and arranging the hours to provide workflow breaks was diet. In your daily rhythm, there's a time to eat protein and a time to eat carbos to benefit sleep, learning, memory and motivation. Simple discipline ... significant gains.
Over the years, either as a natural course or from training, I have acquired snap naps. With less than 60 seconds warning, regardless of what I am doing, I must find a place to rest. For five to fifteen minutes, I will be in a deep sleep from which I will snap back as quickly as I snapped in. Once awake, it is a new day and new attitude for whatever problems left in the wake of a dropdead nap in the awake world. Snap naps in this regard are sort of like ECT for clearing the mind.
On the dark side, if awaken before I snap back, I am a dangerous, confused bear who can then neither sleep nor function for several hours. Snap naps are dangerous when driving as many friends can tell you. I'll be asleep before the car stops rolling on the shoulder. Caffeine is a moderator of snap naps, delaying the inevitable.
From a genetically blessed neurobag--for some siblings are also scatter-brained snap nappers--I have worked to maximize the good it can do for both me and others ... most of the time. Whatever good the project for better democracy and capitalism achieves, it could not have been without the particular gift of genes and the oddities therefrom in sleep habits.
Like the old joke of the easiest path to wealth is to choose your parents wisely, my intellectual gifts are viewed as a matter of luck and obligation, not worth or value. The gift of intelligence does not increase one's value as a human being. The use is the qualifier. In this regard, I was lucky to have an overall balance of positive influences and mentors who came into my life. Lucky in others' genes and lucky in others' generosity.
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