Natural Sleep Solutions

How sleeping can improve your academic & work performance

how sleep can improve grades
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There are days when my body feels like I could sleep forever.  There are days where I seem to go round in a daze because I didn’t get enough sleep the previous night.  Sleep is a biological necessity for us all.  It is designed to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It is critical for our brain to function as it helps us reach optimum level of the cognitive functions such as memory, critical thinking, learning and our decision making.

There has been many research studies carried out that shows that sleep deprivation is linked to poor judgement, poor memory and can lead to poor grades and also poor performance at work.  

Not only that sleep deprivation has also been linked to behavior difficulties.  I mean how do you feel if you haven’t had enough sleep?  I know I am like a bear with a sore head.  I snap at people, I shout and generally feel under the weather.  How much worse would this be for young people and children who don’t get enough sleep?  These kids are more likely to experience problems such as learning difficulties, lack of attention and their concentration levels will be pretty low.  Knowing all this means that for students it can lead to difficulties concentrating and staying alert in class.

You want a calming bedroom – not a mess that keeps you awake at night!

For college students it’s quite simple, staying up too late and getting up early can lead to grades dropping.  In a research study of approximately 1,000 children and preadolescents, researchers measured kids’ sleep and school performance and found that poor sleepers were significantly more likely to have difficulties maintaining grades. Indeed one of the main issues affecting a child’s grades was lack of sleep.  Another study of 3,000 high school students in New England, found that those who got more sleep performed better – we’re not talking huge differences either, those who got around 50 minutes extra sleep performed better.  Further research also showed the same for college students.

Work & Sleep

The same goes for work.  If you don’t get a good night’s sleep it can impact upon your decision making but it can also zap your energy levels too.  This can seriously impact on your day to day performance.  If you want to impress your boss, or you are the boss and want to get more done then just read on to discover the importance of a great night’s sleep.  

You will recover faster. Lack of sleep also means lack of focus.  Your mind can be elsewhere and your decision making abilities can become impaired. Having a good night’s rest allows your brain to reset and come back to the issue rested and ready to focus.  You often feel more refreshed after a great night’s sleep.  This follows you throughout the day and allows you to deal with any issues that are outstanding or indeed need addressed.

You will be able to deal with stress. Lack of sleep can impact upon your stress levels and lead to burn out at work.  This can also mean less productivity from you.  Not to mention the stress having a negative impact upon your general health.  Getting a good night’s sleep will ensure you are ready to deal with any problems you are facing and allow you to put any stress in to perspective.  

You will make good decisions quicker. Sleep improves your ability to make decisions faster.  It also helps you to make good decisions, by weighing up all your options because you have a clear mind to focus on the task at hand.  

So many positives from getting a great night’s sleep – who wouldn’t want that?

Your memory will get better. Sleeping allows us to make sense of what has gone on that day and gives your body the chance to assimilate the learning.  A great night’s sleep allows your memory to make connections whereas lack of sleep produces a poorer working memory.  

You will make less errors. We are often advised not to drive if we are sleepy, it is because we can make errors when driving.  It is the same for any work situation.  If you are tired then you will make more errors be that typing a document or making a decision.

How sleep impacts on your productivity

I’ve already touched on the negative aspects of poor sleep from lower grades to poor performance at work.  The problem is that we seem to be working longer hours which also makes us tired, sluggish and impacts on our productivity.  

What is important to understand is that it is not just about the amount of sleep, we also need to consider the quality of our sleep and consistency of our sleep.  All of these factors can impact upon how productive we are.  Also while this post is about grades and work, you can use the tips below for your home life too.

Sleep tips to improve your grades & productivity

If you want to improve your grades and to improve your productivity at work then below I have listed some tips to help you.  I follow all of these and like to think my productivity is good.  When I do have a night where I don’t get enough sleep I find my productivity drops.  I’d love to know what you think of these sleep tips.

Develop a sleep routine.

Sleep schedules are for everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you are a night owl or an early bird having the right sleep routine can ensure you get a great night’s sleep.  The key is to establish what is best for you.  Your internal body clock may say one thing but you can over rule that.  Instead of forcing things, work out what is best for you and alter it slightly if you find you are a night owl but need to get up early.  If you need help with developing a sleep routine head over to this blog post to download a free sleep routine printable. 

As well as a sleep routine the next thing to consider is the amount of sleep you achieve.  It is recommended adults should get around 7.5 to 8 hours sleep every night.  I have to say my body needs more than this although I often get around 8 hours sleep each night.  Having said that if you get 6 hours and feel great when you waken then that’s ok.  Everyone is different so experiment with the amount of sleep too.   

Once you have worked out how much sleep is enough for you, set your bedtime routine accordingly.  When you start with a sleep routine it trains your body to recognise when it’s time to go to bed.  It’s amazing how we can train our bodies to do this! 

Develop calming activities before bed.

Part of your bedtime routine should involve relaxing activities before heading off to bed.  I would highly recommend 60 minutes before by doing the same relaxing schedule.  Your goal is to start to unwind, so that your body associates these activities with relaxation and preparation for sleep.  For example you could take a warm bubble bath with a few drops of lavender oil.  You could make yourself a cup of chamomile tea.  You can write in a journal so you aren’t thinking of your to do list as you try and drift off to sleep.  For more relaxing ideas just download the printable from this adult bedtime routine post. 

A relaxing bath before bedtime is a must!

Declutter your bedroom

Before I decorated our bedroom recently I would lie awake and look at the horrible wallpaper, the pile of ironing in the corner.  These things would keep my mind active until I took the decision to redecorate, move the ironing and declutter the bedroom.  Having a relaxing space is so essential to getting a good night’s rest.  It also makes it more conducive to sleep. 

So I would highly recommend you declutter your bedroom and decorate if you continually think about how messy or horrible the wallpaper is!  I would also recommend you keep the room cool – around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and use blackout curtains to keep light away especially in the summer months.  Doing these things will help you have a great night’s sleep.  

Keep your electronics out of the bedroom

This is such a hard one for most people from children, teenagers, college students and adults alike.  The problem with electronic screens is that your mind will stay active and it emits light that tricks your body in to thinking it is still daytime.  It stops the productive of the sleepy hormone Melatonin which helps you to fall asleep. 

If you really do need sleep I highly recommend you leave your electronic devices outside the bedroom.  Let’s face it there is nothing on social media that can’t wait until the morning.  If you do leave it outside your bedroom you will have a great night’s sleep and be awake bright and breezy to check your emails and social.  It will also mean you will feel less stressed and ready to take on the day.

Give me sunshine

I just adore the summer.  We don’t often get to see the sunshine here in Northern Ireland so when it does make an appearance it is to be celebrated!  I struggle in the winter when I get up in the dark and travel home after work in the dark.  Getting sunshine is hard but even if it is cloudy getting some sun will waken you up.  What is great about those wonderful rays is that the more natural sunlight you get during the day the more helpful it is to your sleep rhythms (circadian cycles) as it helps to synchronise them. 

Exercise is good for you

As well as this blog on sleep, I also run a blog on walking.  I love walking.  It has helped me no end with my sleep.  I use walking as a way of exercising to improve my health but also to help me get a great night’s sleep.  Exercising helps to tire you out but in a good way so when it comes to the evening you are ready for a good rest.  Head over to my blog to get some ideas of how to fit walking in to your daily routine.

Eat and drink sensibly 

As well as exercise, watching what you eat can also improve your sleep.  A heavy meal before bed will have give you trouble sleeping.  Alcohol while it may put you to sleep will have you wakening up during the night and in the morning you will feel poorly.  Drinking coffee will also keep you awake especially if you drink it close to bed time.  Spicy foods will also impact negatively with your sleep so eating a light meal in the evening is the best course of action as is not drinking caffeine drinks after 3pm in the afternoon.

Don’t hit snooze

As much as you may want to hit that snooze button it can have a negative impact upon you when you do get up.  You could drop off in to a deep sleep again and waken up even worse than before.  Instead decide to spring out of bed and get going after you have had a good night’s sleep.  I always find it helpful to establish a morning routine too and put the light on to waken my body up.

I hope these tips help you improve your grades and/or productivity.  If you can think of other tips on how to improve your sleep for productivity I would love to hear.

Happy dreaming. 

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