Sleep: The Ultimate Productivity Hack

29 November, 2016

Sleep: The Ultimate Productivity Hack

29 November, 2016

Something a lot of students take for granted is the importance of sleep. Sleep is vital to an individual’s wellbeing and just as important as the food we eat, the water we drink and the exercise we do.

 “Sleep is the source of all health and energy” - Arthur Schopenhauer

We have all been there when we thought an all nighter was going to be the difference between a first and a 2:1 but in reality it left you feeling sluggish, irritable and lacking the motivation you really needed. Poor sleep affects your concentration, productivity and mood more than you think. The road to success is not a caffeine-fueled frenzy running on two hours of sleep in the hope of producing work worthy of merit.

Benefits of a good night’s sleep

  1. Improves concentration & productivity: Sleep is important for brain function; particularly cognition, concentration, productivity and performance, all of which are negatively affected by sleep deprivation. A good night’s sleep helps improve problem-solving skills and enhances memory.
  1. Helps reduce stress: Being a student is stressful at the best of times, but when the body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can force the body to produce elevated stress hormones. Getting deep and regular sleep can prevent this from occurring.
  1. Puts you in a better mood: We're all too aware that a lack of sleep makes us all extremely agitated and more susceptible to being grumpy, which isn’t the best mind frame to be in before embarking on revision or essay writing. So the better you sleep; the less anxious you are and the better able you are to stay cool, calm and collected as you revise.

How to get that early night

So it’s agreed, sleep is the ultimate student essential during the revision period. NHS recommends you get between 6-9 hours a night, but it isn't always easy, so how can you help yourself get in those golden hours of sleep?

Plan ahead: Make sleep a priority even if you know you have tonnes of work to do. Having an organised and structured outline of your day makes it easier to get the work you need to do done. As long as they’re realistic, giving yourself deadlines will stop you procrastinating so much in the day and get you out of the library at a decent hour.

A regular bedtime routine: As students this unlikely to be the most rigid or strictest of bedtime routines but trying to sleep at regular hours each day will programme your brain and allows your internal body clock to get used to a routine.

Make your bedroom sleep friendly: For some students their bedrooms serve as all-purpose living quarters but let’s not forget, they are there predominantly for sleep. Your bed is for sleeping and relaxing so don’t sit in bed and work, surf the Internet, or watch television. Make your room a sleep haven: keep it cool, quiet and dark and avoid watching screens (using your phone in night mode doesn’t count – but is slightly better) just before bed so ditch the phone, tablet or television for a book or calming music and and get ready to snooze.

Naps: When done correctly they can prove very beneficial. They can help give you a pick-me-up and make you work more efficiently. Be careful though, if you nap for too long or too close to bedtime it can interfere with your regular sleep.

Eat right & on time: Finish eating at least an hour before bed. And especially don’t eat heavy foods and big meals too late, as they overload your digestive system, which affects how well you sleep.

Rethink your drink: Caffeine in the morning is fine for most but avoid it late in the evening and even afternoon as it can affect you for much longer than you think. Alcohol can make you lethargic but after its initial effects wear off, it’ll make you wake up more often overnight- so do try to limit the regularity of those nights out! Good choices for pre-sleep drinks are warm milk, chamomile tea or treat yourself to a cheeky hot chocolate.

For more handy tips and tricks on how to get soundly asleep check out WellCast's video on How to Sleep Better.

Trading a good night’s sleep for an all nighter in the library may seem like a good idea at the time but it doesn’t put you in good stead for the rest of your academic and professional life. Now go get that early night!

Written by Beatrice Quarshie, Instant Impact Brand Ambassador

If it's got to crunch-time and you're buried in revision, be sure to check these top revision apps to give you a helping hand.

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