miércoles, 25 de febrero de 2015

Talking point: Sleep

This week's talking point is sleep. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • Do you have/Have you ever had problems sleeping?
  • What do you do to help you get to sleep?
  • How much sleep do you need? Do you get as much sleep as you need?
  • Is your sleep light or do you sleep like a log? What kind of things wake you up? 
  • Can you sleep in a bus or plane? With the TV on or with noise?
  • Do you like sleeping in complete darkness?
  • Do you know any sleepwalkers? What do they do?
  • Do you have a nap after eating lunch?
  • What is the longest you have gone without sleep?
  • Do you snore or do you know anyone who snores? How can this problem be solved?
  • Have you ever overslept and missed something really important?
  • Do you go to bed at a fixed time or do you wait until you're tired?
  • Have you ever flown long haul? Where to? Did you get jet lag? How long did it take you to get over it?
  • Do you find it difficult to go to sleep in a bed that you aren't used to sleeping in?
  • Do you often have nightmares or recurring dreams?
To illustrate the topic, watch this short talk by Arianna Huffington for TED, where she shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep.

    My big idea is a very, very small idea that can unlock billions of big ideas that are at the moment dormant inside us. And my little idea that will do that is sleep.
    This is a room of type-A women. This is a room of sleep-deprived women. And I learned the hard way, the value of sleep. Two-and-a-half years ago, I fainted from exhaustion. I hit my head on my desk. I broke my cheekbone, I got five stitches on my right eye. And I began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep. And in the course of that, I studied, I met with medical doctors, scientists, and I'm here to tell you that the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.
    And we women are going to lead the way in this new revolution, this new feminist issue. We are literally going to sleep our way to the top, literally.
    Because unfortunately for men, sleep deprivation has become a virility symbol. I was recently having dinner with a guy who bragged that he had only gotten four hours sleep the night before. And I felt like saying to him -- but I didn't say it -- I felt like saying, "You know what? If you had gotten five, this dinner would have been a lot more interesting."
    There is now a kind of sleep deprivation one-upmanship. Especially here in Washington, if you try to make a breakfast date, and you say, "How about eight o'clock?" they're likely to tell you, "Eight o'clock is too late for me, but that's okay, I can get a game of tennis in and do a few conference calls and meet you at eight." And they think that means that they are so incredibly busy and productive, but the truth is they're not, because we, at the moment, have had brilliant leaders in business, in finance, in politics, making terrible decisions. So a high I.Q. does not mean that you're a good leader, because the essence of leadership is being able to see the iceberg before it hits the Titanic. And we've had far too many icebergs hitting our Titanics.
    In fact, I have a feeling that if Lehman Brothers was Lehman Brothers and Sisters, they might still be around. (Applause) While all the brothers were busy just being hyper-connected 24/7, maybe a sister would have noticed the iceberg, because she would have woken up from a seven-and-a-half- or eight-hour sleep and have been able to see the big picture.
    So as we are facing all the multiple crises in our world at the moment, what is good for us on a personal level, what's going to bring more joy, gratitude, effectiveness in our lives and be the best for our own careers is also what is best for the world. So I urge you to shut your eyes and discover the great ideas that lie inside us, to shut your engines and discover the power of sleep.