Sleep Your Way To Success

http://nervemedia.org.uk/nerve/sleep-your-way-to-success/

on 2 November 2015 at 4:22pm

sleepy study

EVER FIND YOURSELF IN THAT AFTERNOON SLUGGISH-STATE? WELL, IMOGEN BYERS HAS FOUND THE SOLUTION TO COMBAT YOUR DAILY TIREDNESS, AND THEREFORE SUCCEED AT ALL THAT IS LIFE (YAY).

What if I told you that you could actually sleep your way to success? And no, I don’t mean a constant half-dead sleepy shuffle around your workplace; but by simply adjusting your day to fit in short energy-naps.

It is no longer a foreign idea that napping during the day can improve alertness, cognitive ability and function. Many of us are familiar with that 2/3 o’clock lull, when our energy levels could do with a bit of a reboot and the rest of the day seems to drag on. sleep deprivedWhen were running low on vitality our minds wander and we’re less able to focus on pretty much anything, other then Candy Crush (of course). In this state, even the best of us are tempted us to miss out on those afternoon lectures. So how and when do we need to nap to restore our energy levels?

Well, animals have already figured it all out; we just need to catch up. Research carried out by The National Sleep Foundation states that over 85% of mammals are ‘poly-phasic sleepers’, meaning that they sleep for shorter periods throughout the day instead breaking down the day into 2 separate sleep/wake phases. Living in the animal kingdom is quite a bit more of a task then a one-hour lecture followed by a cheeky Nandos, so it’s essential in their environment to stay alert to get the job done. But, we need to get things done; why should we be any different?

Already companies such as Google and Nationwide have provided ‘nap-rooms’ for their employees in the hopes of boosting productivity, and therefore overall company success. Just think how amazing it would be, finishing one lecture then popping into the ‘nap room’ for a quick kip before tackling the rest of the day.

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A journal article published in 2010 by the ‘Progress of Brain Research’ states that a brief 10-15 minute nap is shown to improve cognitive function almost immediately. A slightly longer sleep of over half an hour is shown to be often followed by immediate short-term sleep inertia (that groggy, confused post-nap feeling) but then can lead on to drastic cognitive improvement for a longer period of time following (3-4 hours).

Why is sleep so important though? For anyone who says that ‘sleep is for the weak’- think again. Our bodies use sleep as an essential time to repair and restore any wear-and-tear we have pushed it through. Sleep replenishing energy levels, and Sleepfixing any damage or strains placed on our muscles, bones and joints. Not only does it benefit us physically but also mentally. Sleep is the prime time at which memory consolidation occurs. So before thinking that staying up late to revise into the early hours is a good idea, maybe think about how much more you’ll actually remember if you get those extra well-needed hours of shut-eye instead?

As students, reasons for tiredness and lack of focus may just result from not getting enough sleep in general due to late nights and early starts. Maybe the input of some post lunch zzz’s could support our hectic student lifestyles and help us get the most out of our day? Finding the time whilst trying to balance work, play and social life may seem to be an issue but it could be said that half an hour at least for most of us each day is wasted dawdling on facebook or mindlessly exploring through the depths of youtube. Perhaps adding an extra nap could decrease our student procrastination habits as well as increase overall productivity and achievements?

Edited by Natalie Whitmore

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