A Billionaire’s Vacation


Imagine that you’re walking down the street and find yourself approached by Scrooge McDuck—or some other cartoon billionaire. In a quaking, quacking feat of altruism, he has decided to send you on vacation. But not just any vacation—one designed for maximum relaxation. The idea is for you to come back to your regular life fully recharged. He’s ready to hand you a sackful of gold—right now! “How much, young…ish person?” he asks, “Name your price..”

How would you unlock full relaxation mode? Do you picture yourself swimming through cyan Caribbean waters? Meditating in a monastery? Luxuriating in a sauna? The world is your oyster. Time is open too. You can take months if you need to. Ole Scrooge seems like a changed duck—and he’s ready to support your good vibes. But you figure that you’d better respond quickly. So, how would you organize your days for maximum relaxation?

For starters, you’d need to sleep really well. Maybe better than ever. To achieve that, you’d need more than great sleeping quarters; you’d need time outdoors and plenty of exercise. Combined, these factors will make it much easy to fall asleep fast and then slumber deeply. The magic that takes place during sleep goes beyond tissue repair and even extends into brain hygiene. New research shows that, during sleep, cerebrospinal fluid washes away brain poop—waste proteins that are harmful to brain cells— may contribute to Alzheimer’s.

I realize that prioritizing sleep is not everyone’s idea of a dream vacation. Or maybe it is—andI’m not as unusual as I think. Either way, your goal is to take amazing care of yourself for a prolonged period and then come back supercharged. It’s like a reverse-bender.

The human body is not a car. Health is not about keeping your mileage low. Your capacity can stretch and grow in surprising ways. So, to sleep like a champion, activity would be built into your days. But it would never feel like a forced march. Instead, you’d choose things that you enjoy doing. You’d swim in the ocean or learn Flamenco dancing, or juggle on a unicycle. You’d choose whatever makes your heart sing and your brain hum. And it would all lead to deep, beautiful sleep.

This thought experiment may not be practical. Although I suspect that you’re more likely to be handed a pile of money by a cartoon than by an actual billionaire. However, I know that you are able to get closer to this kind of lifestyle than you might expect. So, my question here is a two-parter:

  1. What is the next tiny, practical step toward a sleep-centric lifestyle for you?
  2. If you took that step, how would levelling up your sleep so dramatically impact your performance in (waking) activities?

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