One of our basic needs as human beings which is vital to boost our immune system, prevent weight gain, strengthen our heart, and improve productivity, yet many people still don’t allow enough time for it… that’s right, I’m talking about sleep!
I’ve recently read the book ‘Why we sleep’ by Matthew Walker, which highlights the many advantages that sleep has on our brain. In particular, sleep is vital for memory and has proved itself time and time again as a memory aid. Both before learning, to prepare your brain for initially making new memories, and after learning, to cement those memories and prevent forgetting. Walker also declares “the decimation of sleep throughout industrialised nations is having a catastrophic effect on our health, our life expectancy, our safety, our productivity and the education of our children.”
Not having enough sleep can have a direct and hugely detrimental effect on productivity and performance. In 2016 the multimillion-dollar National Basketball Association found that when a player had more than 8 hours of sleep there was a 29% increase in points per minute and a 12% increase in minutes played. Whilst less than 8 hours of sleep resulted in a 37% increase in turnovers and a 45% increase in fouls committed.
How much sleep do you get each night? Do you fall into the trap of working late or watching TV longer than you should?
Not getting enough sleep can actually be dangerous. The Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted lots of research into sleep and found that when a person sleeps for just 4-5 hours a night they are 4.3 times more likely to have a car accident the following day. If this sleep is then increased to just 5-6 hours a night this likelihood reduces to 1.9 times.
The World Health Organisation has now declared a ‘sleep loss epidemic’ throughout industrialised nations and in 2015 National Geographic announced in the ‘Sleepless in America’ documentary that “40% of American adults are sleep deprived.” Furthermore, this documentary directly points out that ‘when sleep gets shorter than 7 hours per night there is an increase in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease…’ as well as mental health problems.
We know the risks and yet we drastically underestimate the power of sleep and our fundamental need for sleep in order to function and perform in all areas of our lives.
Here are 12 tips on how you can improve your sleep in order to become 30% more productive, so go on, give it a go for a month and see what happens!
To sum up, think twice about watching that extra episode on Netflix or working that extra hour in the evening as it will then become more difficult for you to get enough good, quality sleep that night. Prioritise the importance of sleep and of getting at least 7 hours a night consistently, which most likely means dedicating 8 hours to bedtime if you include relaxing down into sleep and waking up gradually.
Out of all the productivity hacks I’ve seen in my time (and there are lots!) absolutely none are as effective as getting enough sleep to really optimise brainpower, productivity and performance!