Get some sleep. Not right now of course, but maybe after finishing this article, cause I’m pretty sure that you need it. A recent survey found that around 49% of the respondents felt that they don’t get enough sleep. It’s a vicious cycle, too. When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t perform well, leading you to work more and stay up longer, which cuts into your sleeping time. Rinse and repeat.
The most basic reason why you need enough sleep is to give your body time to repair itself. Sleep helps the body rebuild muscles, maintain good skin and keep your senses sharp. Even better, getting a good night’s sleep actually boosts your other abilities as well. Here are 5 great benefits of getting proper sleep each day.
Gain better memory and learning
Sleep is the time when your brain does its mental housekeeping, tidying up and properly storing all the things you’ve experienced during the day. With enough sleep, you’ll be able to recall important facts and experiences much more easily when needed. It’s the reason why you should always get a good night’s rest before pitching to a client.
Sleep not only helps us remember information better, it also aids in recalling instructions and tasks that we did that day. For example, if you’re learning how to use a new photo editing tool or setting up new AV equipment, getting enough sleep will help cement how you did those things so that it becomes easier, or even automatic, the next time around.
Become better at solving problems
Grandpa always used to say that when faced with a big decision, you should sleep on it. It might not make sense especially for urgent problems, but which would you rather have: an immediate solution or the best solution? In fact, a Lancaster University study found that people who got enough sleep were able to solve hard problem sets better versus their sleep-deprived counterparts.
On top of that, you can actually solve problems while sleeping. Before drifting off, try to think about the problem, its details and how you plan to fix it. While you’re asleep, your brain will take that information and make new connections with other memories in your brain. Sometimes those connections lead to unusual ideas, even unique solutions to your problem, so keep something handy to jot it down, just in case. It’s not 100% bulletproof, but at the very least you’ll get new insights about the problem after you wake up.
Get better attention and focus
The part of the brain that handles decision making, problem solving and reasoning is also the same one that gives you the ability to focus and pay attention. That’s why your attention slips more easily in the afternoon after a hard day’s work versus in the morning.
If you need to stay focused on a task, try to work on it right after your brain is well rested. For most of us, this means doing the really important work in the morning. If this isn’t possible, you can also take a short nap in the afternoon and work on it right after. Need to focus better? We also wrote about a few ways to improve your focus at work.
Have a better mood
Ever feel cranky after being jostled awake by your alarm after an all-nighter? We all have, I’m sure and it’s backed by data as well. University of Pennsylvania researchers discovered that sleep-deprived subjects of a study felt more stressed as well as angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. The good news is that their mood improved when they went back to their normal sleeping patterns.
And it’s not just mood that’s affected by sleep. Many psychological problems stem from the lack of sleep, like depression and anxiety. If you’re feeling sour or stressed, a quick nap might fix it. And if this is a constant issue, maybe just getting enough Z’s during the night is the real solution. Another way to improve your mood is to eat better foods.
Be better prepared for big projects.
When you’re tasked with a big event, it usually means long sleepless nights preparing and making sure all the details are perfect. If you expect to be kept awake by an upcoming project, you can actually “bank” some sleep in the days prior so you can work better during those sleepless nights.
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conducted a study on banking sleep and found that participants who had banked the sleep were “more resilient” when performing tasks after being sleep-deprived. So skip the energy drinks and jugs of coffee and try out just sleeping longer the days before.
Sleep might seem like a waste of time, especially if you have a deadly deadline to meet. But sleep is actually one of those counterintuitive things where you gain more time (in terms of quality, not quantity) by spending more time sleeping well. Now, get some sleep.