Ah sleep, one of our favourite things. So why is it that hardly any of us are getting enough of it? 80% of Australians surveyed by Sealy said they’d function better at work with more sleep. Leading the way were small business owners with 67% saying they’d be more productive if they could fit in more sleep. With the demands of life increasing we’re all cutting out sleep in an effort to extend the hours in the day. As a result our health and possibly even business is suffering. So what if you set yourself the goal to prioritise a proper sleeping schedule this year? Here’s a few benefits to a good night’s sleep and how you can have one.
You’ll pick up new skills faster
The research on sleep and memory is fairly complex however, there are some simple truths about how sleep helps us with learning. There are three steps to learning something new: acquisition, consolidation and recall. Acquisition is the introduction of new information to your brain, where we try something new and ‘acquire’ said skill. Consolidation is the important part that happens when we sleep – your brain holds onto the memory of how to do the new thing. Recall is when your brain accesses the stored information so you can do the skill again. If you’re not getting enough shut eye then you’re missing out on crucial consolidation stages and your brain cannot recall what it has learned.
You’ll make better decisions
The first symptom of not enough sleep is that drowsy feeling which most people cover up by drinking coffee. Sure, caffeine increases your alertness but it’s simply curing a symptom. Not getting enough sleep night after night is going to take a toll on your brain. You’ll suffer from reduced concentration, mathematical capacity and difficulty with logical reasoning. Making decisions is an important aspect of running your own business. Getting your 8-hours a night is sure to help your decision making process with more logic, concentration and maths ability by your side.
You’ll curb your risk of common diseases
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke are just a few of the serious illnesses that can be staved off with more sleep.
Your mood will improve
Irritability is one of the most common symptoms of not enough sleep. An irritable leader is hardly an aspirational one.
You’ll feel more attractive
With around 80% of Australian women suffering from low self-esteem and body image there’s never been a more important time to prioritise beauty sleep. Of course, sleep is not a magic fix for what is essentially a mental health concern and attractiveness is definitely not a precursor to business success. However, if waking up fresh and feeling attractive improves your self-esteem and overall confidence then it won’t hurt to try. Confidence is key to women in business and beauty sleep may be your secret weapon on this front.
Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Fast
Tell your body to wind down
The daylight and nighttime hours don’t feel the same as they used to. We no longer feel the need to rise with the light and sleep with the dark. Thus, it’s very important that you have a wind down routine to tell your body it is time for sleep. Avoid blue light from screens such as your laptop, phone or TV at least 1 hour before bed. Turn to reading instead or have a hot shower/bath if you need to relax. Creating a bedtime routine will also help you stay on track for the same sleeping and waking hours and make sure you get the 8 hours you’ve been missing.
Perfect your bedroom
Choosing a comfortable mattress is more important than most people think. There’s plenty of types with different levels of support; from soft to firm to memory foam options. Treat yourself like Goldilocks from the Three Bears and keep testing until you find the one that is just right.
It’s also ideal to head to bed in a cool room. Sleep researchers have noted a natural drop in body temperature just before you fall asleep which they believe is part of what takes you to the land of nod. Try to keep your bedroom between 15-20 degrees and see if you can’t trick your brain into dozing off faster.
Wear socks to bed
This trick will both improve circulation and help your core body cool down faster. When you shift the blood flow to your extremities your core body temperature drops and you get the ‘cool room’ effect mentioned above.
Don’t check the time!
This has to be the biggest mistake you can make. Checking the time and counting down the amount of sleep you’ll be getting only leads to increased stress and a spike in cortisol which keeps you awake. Instead of telling yourself you have to get to sleep in the next 5 minutes turn your clock away and allow your body to relax naturally into sleep.