Caught between the demands of life and work, sleep is often one of the first things to get cut. It’s even become a sort of value-signaling to prioritize work over sleep. But what if sleep is the very thing you need to actually accomplish more?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But according to the CDC, one-third of American adults get fewer than six hours of sleep a night. I have fallen into this trap myself. I have sacrificed a good night’s sleep in the name of productivity. The thing is, staying up late will actually backfire. Insufficient sleep causes fatigue, which impairs your ability to perform. It also has detrimental health effects, including elevated stress hormones, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
Without enough sleep you will start the next day with an inability to focus, slow reaction time, and impaired mental performance. This will all combine to make it more difficult to achieve your goals. The solution? Prioritize sleep.
Here are four key benefits to sleeping the recommended number of hours per night:
- Sleep enhances your mental clarity. Have you ever found yourself at work and unable to answer a question? Your mind has suddenly gone blank. Without sleep you aren’t able to perform your best. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insufficient sleep has an estimated economic impact of over $411 billion each year in the United States alone.
- Sleep improves your ability to learn and grow. Without proper sleep, the neurons in your brain aren’t able to function properly. This prevents your consolidating and recalling information effectively.
- Sleep refreshes our emotional state. You have probably heard the phrase “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” What this phrase highlights is actually how lack of adequate sleep makes you more likely to be angry, sad, or irritable. Sleep lowers the stress chemicals in our brain and improves our overall mood.
- Sleep revitalizes our bodies. Research shows that while you sleep, your body is busy at work resetting nearly every tissue in your body. It’s essential for every organ. Prioritizing sleep will boost your immune system, cardiovascular health, and more.
Our bodies are designed to function best with sleep. In the moment, when you’re thinking about staying up late to finish a project, you may think it’s your best option in order to achieve more. But, ultimately, if you want to win at work and succeed in life, it all must begin with a good night's sleep.
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