by Sarah Cummings
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or where you do it – we all dream of becoming more efficient at our work.
If you’re like me, you probably have a smartphone full of apps all designed to make you ‘work smarter’. And, just like me, chances are you never use them.
Not to discount these apps – they work for some. And not to detract from any of the other productivity tips out there either, such as effective scheduling. They all have their own benefits and each one can make you more productive. However, there is one tip that is criminally overlooked, despite it being the most effective lifehack you can ever adopt – get more sleep!
Yep, simple as that. Get more sleep.
Good-quality sleep brings a multitude of benefits, from a better mood to better relationships, to better health. It also makes you a more productive individual. How do I know? Because science told me, that’s how!
Here are just four of the many science-backed ways in which a good night’s sleep can improve your productivity:
Why You Need a Good Night’s Sleep
- It gives you a better memory
Get some proper shut-eye and never forget a name again.
Research has long shown a link between good sleep and a good memory. The reason appears to be two-fold: Firstly your brain is simply more alive when it’s rested. During any activity, the new connections that are made between neurons in the brain of a well-rested individual are significantly higher than one who is sleep-deprived. In English, this means that the rested brain can take in more information – effectively learning and remembering more.
Secondly, it seems that unbroken sleep allows the brain to record information that it has taken in over the course of the day more efficiently. Scientists believe that the brain at night replays the day’s events – in a process known as ‘consolidation’ – which plays an important role in making lasting neural connections. If sleep is continuously broken, this phenomenon is obviously less successful.
So the rested brain is both taking more information in and recording it more permanently. Meanwhile, when it comes to the tired mind, the lights are on but no one’s home.
- It helps you make better decisions
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘let’s sleep on it’. The delaying of a decision until both sides have had time to think it over and return with fresh eyes in the morning… well, it seems there is scientific wisdom to the old adage.
Well-rested people make fewer mistakes. Simple as that. Whether it’s composing a grammatically correct email, or foolishly saying yes to Mike’s marriage proposal when you’re not quite sure he is serious husband material…you’re going to want to be rested at times like these.
Poor sleep has a big impact on your cognitive performance. This manifests itself in two main ways: speed and accuracy. Basically, if you’re even a little bit sleep-deprived, you become slower and less accurate than your usual, well-rested self. This obviously affects your ability to choose between two, three, or a multitude of choices.
Just how bad is this effect? Well, one study found that missing just two hours’ sleep was akin to the impact of two or three alcoholic drinks. And we all know how bad some of the choices we’ve made after a few drinks are. At least I know I do!
- It improves your ability to recover from distractions
A sleep-deprived person has been shown to be just as effective in most tasks as someone with a full night’s sleep behind them. Doesn’t sound right, does it? Well, it is right. And they can.
That is, unless, they are distracted from that task. Say the phone rings, or there’s a knock on the door, or the cat jumps onto the keyboard. A non-sleep-deprived individual will shake off this distraction and return to the job at hand. Research has shown, however, that someone suffering from a poor night’s sleep will find it much more difficult to regain focus.
So, are finding yourself unable to focus today? Are you roaming the internet reading random articles when you should be knocking out that report? If so, ask yourself – how did I sleep last night?
- It makes you healthier
Good-quality sleep not only prevents bags forming under your eyes, it also seems to play a role in preventing far more serious issues, from cardiovascular disease and depression.
The fact is, a healthy sleeper is, in general, a healthier person. While chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to play a role in a myriad of conditions; anything from heart disease to heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, and stress. Poor sleep really is a killer.
Researchers have found that someone who gets less than six hours downtime a night has a 10% higher mortality risk than someone sleeping seven to nine hours a night. Yikes!
And while dying would certainly be poor for productivity, so is catching a common cold. Sleep can help here, too.
Good sleep boosts the body’s immune system helping it fight off those dastardly coughs and nagging colds that really eat into our productivity. It also helps us to recover more quickly when we do catch the inevitable sniffle.
Sleep is our bodies’ way of recharging our batteries. Why do you think the only thing you want to do when you’re ill is stay in bed and sleep?
So, there you have it. Four ways – backed by science – in which a good night’s sleep will boost your productivity.
Now all you have to do is boost your body’s ability to sleep! Fortunately, there are many ways to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. These can be as simple as improving what you’re snoozing on to changing up your sleep routine. Or even just swapping your bedroom curtains for some light-blocking blackout blinds.
Sleep is your body’s best friend; so like a friend, treat it with the respect it deserves and you’ll see your productivity skyrocket in no time.
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What did you think of the post? I look forward to your views in the comments section. Do you agree getting a good night’s sleep is a must?
This was a sponsored post.