We can use the most efficient instruments for productivity, we can join whatever training to learn to be more productive, or read a lot of books. Everything is useless, if we neglect the simple things that lead to low productivity.
Those simple things determine your general productivity. One of the most important things is sleeping. In this article, I will present you 4 science-backed information on sleep found in several research studies.
1) Sleep cycles
According to research from Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep has two main phases:
– NREM (Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement) which has 3 parts (the last is „deep sleep”
– REM (Rapid-Eye-Movement) – characterized as being the active sleep, when dreams occur. According to the same researchers, a NREM-REM cycles lasts for 70-100 minutes (first one) followed by longer ones of 90-120 de minute. You can read more here.
2) Number of sleep cycles
An adult need at least 5 sleep cycles per night (between 7 to 8 hours of sleep) according to researcher from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (read more here). Most likely it happened to you to wake up without the alarm clock. That was because you exist a sleep cycle. What happens when the alarm wakes you during a sleep cycle? You wake up dizzy and you might want to hit the snooze button.
3) When to go to sleep
This is important, mainly because internal organs like the liver or kidneys need to function properly. In a normal circadian rhythm, when sun goes down, the brain secretes melatonin. That’s why, during winter, we get sleepy around 7-8 pm in the evening, while during summer, this sensation occurs after 10 pm.
Dr. Allison Siebern, associate director at Insomnia & Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program from Stanford University says that the best way to test the proper hours for sleeping is to check when the sensation of sleep occurs, with the condition of setting a waking hours.
The same researcher, says that if during weekdays you wake up at 6:30 am, and during the week-end you stay in bed until 10 am, you will disrupt your sleep rhythm. You can read the full article here. Sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am is far better than from 1 am to 9 am.
4) Effects of lack of sleeping on long term: health problems, concentration deficit, depression, weight gain.
The first problem in sleep deficiency is the lack of awareness of this issue. This might be a temporary situation. If it’s not, you can figure out some symptoms below, with effects on productivity:
– You stay up all night watching TV or on social networks? From the productivity point of view, you could spend more time with your family or friends, or reading books that could help you in your goals.
– You are always hungry and eat in late evening? (if your body doesn’t receive sleep, will ask for food, according to Chris Winter, MD, owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia). Which will be the result from the productivity point of view? You will have problems concentrating on some tasks because you are hungry.
– You gained extra pounds and you don’t know why. In a study from 2012 from Journal of Internal Medicine, researcher found that only 4 days of sleep of 4 and half hours reduced the ability of cells to answer to insulin (hormone responsible for adjusting energy) by 30%. Thus, you will become less active, and you energy level will be low.
– Are you impulsive? If you are impulsive, you will be less willing to face challenges during the day, for some tasks that need creativity and logical arguments. Kelly Baron, PhD, lector in neurology from Northwestern University in Chicago, says that you will be less inhibited, if you have lack of sleep.
– You can’t remember things. Lack of sleep will generate a problem of prioritization. You will start the day without knowing what you have to do, working in a more automatic way. You will accept tasks that you would normally won’t.
– Your immune system is low, feeling depressed or disappointed you’re your current state? A study from 2009 from Archives of Internal Medicine followed the sleep of more than 153 volunteers for 14 days straight. Researcher found out than those that slept less than 7 hours a night, were 3 times more predisposed to catch a cold compared with those that slept more than 8 hours. When immunity is low, productivity is blocked. You will not reach towards your goals and activities and will be very difficult to assess your productivity level.
So, at the end of the week, make yourself a favor to be more productive on the long term, have a good sleep and assess how you can improve your sleep during weekdays.
How many hours of sleep did you have last night?