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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 3:04 pm | Light Rain 55º


Susan Ann Darley: Are Dogs Smarter Than Humans?

Canines are masters of a good night's sleep, and it might be worth our while to follow their lead

Perhaps dogs are smarter than humans. They certainly know how to sleep better than most of us. They have no “to do” lists, deadlines to meet or bosses to report to. “No worries” could be their motto.

My dog Willy never gets cranky, befuddled or stressed. Or if he does, I don’t know it because he’s usually sleeping.

Animals simply follow their natural instincts. For the approximately 77 million of us who are sleep deprived, it looks like we have buried our natural instincts like bones in the dirt. It might be worth our while to begin mirroring Fido’s sleep habits — at least to some degree.

If not, we will have to steadily contend with mood swings, irritability, stress, increased appetite, hormone imbalances, poor memory, low libido and making plans to exercise “some day.”

A recent study at Stanford University examined the benefits of sleep on athletic performance. For five to seven weeks, 11 members of the men’s varsity basketball team extended their sleep to an average of 8.5 hours per night.

The results:

» They ran significantly faster.

» Their shooting improved by 9 percent.

» Their overall physical well-being and moods improved.

A good night’s sleep is restorative, and the benefits are immeasurable. To name a few — sleep improves immune function, metabolism, memory and learning. It helps us to manage weight and look younger.

Business owners take heed. Are you the executive decision maker? Then snore in bliss with Fido, otherwise sleep deprivation can result in:

» Ineffective decision making

If only I could sleep like my dog Willy.
If only I could sleep like my dog Willy.

» Inability to handle complexity

» Poor judgment

» Impaired memory retention

» Increase in errors

If you Google “how to get a good night’s sleep,” you will get more than a billion hits with a zillion ideas and strategies on how to enter dreamland. I personally prefer milk and chocolate. Willy prefers treats also. He goes outside for his last yard visit then receives a biscuit. In hopes of more, he asks to go out at least two more times.

The real secret of a good night’s sleep is “Hakuna Matata!” It means no worries for the rest of your days. A problem-free philosophy. Willy seems to be in the groove with it. I’m working on it.

I’m reminded of a great quote: “Worry is the darkroom where negatives are developed,” author unknown. That’s so true, and most of what I worry about never transpires anyway.

The average person has between 60,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. So why do about 40,000 of mine happen at 3 a.m.? On those nights when I’m overthinking, I inevitably go into the kitchen for a snack, listening to the pitter patter of Willy at my heels. “Oh boy, mom, let’s have another treat.” Which he gets, then quickly retreats back to his pillow and within seconds is snoring.

Are dogs smarter than humans? Wait a minute. … I’m still thinking.

— Through her business, Mindset Management, Susan Ann Darley coaches and writes for businesses, entrepreneurs and artists from all disciplines. She offers a complimentary coaching session. For more information, click here, email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.845.3036.

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