importance of sleep for creativity and productivity

Why Sleep is Important to Boost Your Creativity and Productivity

In today’s fast-paced, always connected and overly ambitious lifestyle, sleep is often ignored and dismissed as a waste of time.

We often hear that “snoozing is losing” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” because most people think of the sleeping brain as similar to a computer that has “gone to sleep” – it does nothing productive.

This is just our delusion which is seriously compromising our health, affecting our personal lives and putting a serious dent in our mental and physical work performance – without us even realizing.

Sleep deprivation not only dumbs you down but may even lead to burnout. The truth is that sleep is imperative for us to perform to the best of our abilities.

Research proves that sleep boosts concentration, creativity, working memory, mathematical capacity and logical reasoning, all of which are key performance factors in virtually every aspect of life. Let’s take a look.

Importance of Sleep for Creativity and Productivity

#Sleep and Better Work Productivity

Sleep affects work productivity in more than one ways. Adequate sleep is critical for better decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Basically, sleep allows you to access the vast amount of information and knowledge in your brain that doesn’t immediately come to mind so the old saying of “sleeping on it” actually helps in solving a new and seemingly difficult problem.

Lack of sleep also impairs our ability to multi-task. One recent study simulating the conditions of sleep deprivation throughout a single workweek found that as sleep deprivation accumulated, the ability to multi-task also grew worse.

All in all, our level of concentration, attention, focus and work efficiency is at its peak when we are well rested and fresh.

After a sleepless night, you can well imagine how productive your day at work goes when you’re just nodding during meetings with your brain half asleep and pushing yourselves through the day’s work by chugging cups of coffee.

Many companies such as Google, Cisco Systems, and Procter & Gamble now understand the importance of sleep regarding productivity and alertness and therefore have set up sleeping pods in their offices for employees to refresh themselves with power naps.

In fact, at Google, if you don’t have your twenty-minute nap you’re asked why because they know just how much it increases capacity and alertness.

What’s more interesting is that employees are now learning the art of strategic napping to improve performance.

This includes when and how long to nap, how to determine the amount of sleep one needs and how to recognize signs of fatigue and the symptoms of sleep disorders.

Acting on this knowledge really gives an edge and helps employees to maximize their work performance.

#Sleep and Better Grades

Better sleep not only leads to better work performance but also better academic performance.

Sleep boosts our memory, learning and mental skills involved in planning, paying attention and multitasking which are key factors to performing well in school.

Recently, researchers from McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal conducted a study to investigate the link between quality sleep and academic performance of 75 school children between the age of 7 and 11, enrolled in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

Their sleep efficiency was measured via actigraphy. Basically, the children wore the watch-like devices to bed which was used to measure their movement while in bed.

This was to distinguish between time spent in bed lying and time actually spent sleeping for accurate results. At the end of the study, researchers compared sleep data to academic report cards and found out that better sleep lead to better performance in subjects such as math and language.

The study, however, did not find any correlation between sleep efficiency and academic performance in subjects such as science and arts.

At the end of the study, researchers compared sleep data to academic report cards and found out that better sleep lead to better performance in subjects such as math and language.

The study, however, did not find any correlation between sleep efficiency and academic performance in subjects such as science and arts.

#Sleep and Creativity

The nature of the above study may not be suitable to show a link between academic performance in science and art with sleep.

However, we have tons of cases from history where scientists have come up with brilliant innovations and artists have come up with their best creations right after taking a nap or even in their sleep.

Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz said that the ring structure of benzene came to him in a dream.

Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, also thought of the idea in his dream and that is also how Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev established the periodic table of elements.

Anyone who’s a music fan has heard the famous Beatles song “Yesterday”, the most covered song in the history of music.

The interesting thing is that Paul McCartney wrote the hit Beatles song “Yesterday” while he was asleep. When he woke up, he rushed to the piano to record it before he could forget it.

Just to be sure that it wasn’t something that he had heard earlier on; he kept asking people if the melody sounded familiar.

Research also proves that sleep boosts creativity, innovative thinking and helps lead to those ‘Aha!’ moments. So the next time when you can’t seem to think out of the box or come up with a brilliant idea, try taking a nap!

 

Eugene Gabriel

Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on Sleep affects your looks.

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