Sleep’s Effect on Brain Health
Sleep can have a massive impact on health: preventing disease, instigating muscle growth, and cleansing systems. Its effects on the brain, however, might be the most significant. A good night’s sleep can make the difference between a productive day and one filled with frustration. Whether it’s improved efficiency, cognitive skills, or overall sense of happiness, high-quality sleep can largely affect the way the brain works.
Many people realize that a well-rested mind is more energetic, but this isn’t the only way that sleep affects productivity. Focus, motivation, and the ability to multitask all improve after a high-quality rest. This is because sleep allows the brain to recuperate, clear out waste, and improve neuron communication. It enhances high-level cognitive abilities like time management and problem-solving skills, meaning that rested workers can focus better and move through tasks on their own, faster.
REM, the sleep stage when most dreams occur, has been linked to boosted creativity and inspired thinking. This stage of sleep cycles throughout the night, occurring about four times. When sleep is cut short, however, REM cycles can’t finish, and your ability to think creatively suffers. Research has shown that you’re able to best think out-of-the-box the closer you are to restorative REM. So, try to let your mind wander and complete your creative projects first thing in the morning.
Long-term memories are stored while you sleep, and research shows that a well-rested person is better able to recall information than someone who’s sleep deprived. The process of memory consolidation that occurs while you’re in the deep and REM sleep stages is what stores memories for future use and frees up space for you to focus on tomorrow’s tasks. Similarly, research has shown that consistently losing sleep can make it harder to remember long-term memories, and can even lead to Alzheimer’s.
Boosted mood and lowered stress
Sleep helps regulate hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol, which control feelings of happiness and stress. Therefore, a lack of sleep can throw the balances off and disrupt overall mood. Not only does this affect your sense of wellbeing, but it also impacts your relationships, business or otherwise. Be sure to de-stress before bedtime to help ease yourself into a comfortable sleep and improve your mood for tomorrow.
If you struggle to get the sleep your mind needs, consider using higher-quality bedding or trying out a few yoga moves before bedtime. There are many different tricks to sleep better– the key is to find the right one that suits your lifestyle the best.
So, if you want to become a smarter, happier person and better employee, consider getting in an extra hour or two every night. It could be the difference to a healthy, productive mental state.