How sleep helps you succeed

Like many people, you may be juggling a lot these days — work, family, at-home schooling, and more. To fit it all in, and still impress on the job, you may be tempted to skimp on sleep. But getting enough shut eye is actually critical for you to function at peak performance.

Take a look at all the benefits you receive by regularly getting the recommended minimum 7 hours of sleep a night.

  • Sleep helps you learn and remember. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep not only improves attention and the ability to learn efficiently, but it also allows your brain to process and consolidate newly acquired information.
  • Sleep enhances creativity. Research shows that sleep improves your brain’s agility and your creative problem-solving skills. For example, one study found that sleep increased the ability to make connections between distantly related ideas.
  • Sleep reduces errors. Sleep deprivation impairs reaction time, decision-making abilities, and memory — which means mistakes are more likely. In fact, one airline’s study of procedural errors found fatigue to blame in 88% of cases.
  • Sleep boosts your mood. It’s no secret that your outlook is brighter and challenges seem more manageable when you’re rested and feeling energetic.
  • Sleep supports your immune system. You can’t be productive at work when you’re sick, so staying healthy is important to your career success. Sleep is proven to help your body more effectively fight illness and ward off disease. Regularly missing out on adequate sleep puts you at increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, memory loss, chronic stress, and more.

Try these tips to help you get a good night’s rest:

  • Stick to a schedule that involves going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading, soft music, a warm bath, or meditation.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and use correct pillows for your preferred sleeping position.
  • Turn off electronics an hour before going to bed.
  • Exercise daily, but try to finish vigorous exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Create a restful environment with ideal temperature (60◦–67◦), sound, and darkness.
  • Avoid having alcohol, caffeine, or spicy foods late in the evening.

Sources:
“6 Ways Sleep Can Make You More Successful,” HuffPost (huffpost.com), October 18, 2016
Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School (healthysleep.med.harvard.edu)
WebMD
Centers for Disease Control
Sleep.org