Sleep – it’s something that we all need, but few of us get it consistently. In our fast-paced world, it can seem increasingly difficult to get regular sleep, let alone actually getting to a point of feeling well rested. Often, we cut back on sleep in order to work on more projects in the hopes of being more productive, but it makes us less productive as a result. Worse than that, it negatively affects our physical and psychological health.
Why sleep is important to productivity
For people who constantly feel like they are always falling behind on work (whether at home or in the office), or who continue to find another reason to avoid going to bed at a reasonable hour, it can seem counter-intuitive to put sleep as a top priority. The fact of the matter is that human brains are designed with sleep in mind – and without it, our ability to understand the world around us and respond to it in a meaningful fashion becomes challenged.
Similar to a computer needing to be restarted or refreshed on occasion, the brain does as well. By relaxing our minds and letting our brains go into a restive state, we effectively hit the “reset” button and enable our neural receptors to refresh. It’s true that sleeping won’t actively get your work done, but when you wake up, you’ll be able to approach it from an entirely different and renewed perspective.
Getting well rested sleep is important for social interactions, too. If a family member is upset, your ability to comfort them is vastly inferior when you are not well rested. Being tired is the number one cause of children and adults feeling cranky and, if given a choice, most of us don’t want to be cranky with our loved ones. It is the same for friends who are in need of a good listener and advice, or employers who are trying to help us understand the project we are assigned.
Health benefits of sleep
Beyond improving our ability to understand and relate to the world around us and the complicated world that we find ourselves in, sleep is vital to our personal health. Not only does sleeping allow the brain to revive, it allows the body to revive, as well.
When we go to sleep, restorative chemicals are released throughout our body to begin repairing the tissues damaged or worn from regular use. Our acidity levels decrease, enabling our cells and organs to relax and heal, and our metabolism resets in preparation for the following day’s meals.
Without adequate sleep, our bodies are in a state of constant, heightened arousal. Just like a computer left on too long with too many tasks assigned to it, our systems get overheated, clogged up, and rendered inefficient, contributing to long-term health problems that over time become overwhelming.
In short, whether your goal is excelling at work or at home, making your personal sleep a top priority is a winning approach.