By Sarah Cummings
This post is brought to you by Sleep Advisor, a resource for information on sleep and sleep products.
The fine-tuning of a good snooze. The ability to catch some zzzs. The fine art of a power nap. All make perfect business sense.
It’s true – sleeping properly makes us more productive. Because sleep goes far beyond the obvious physical effects like bags under our eyes or an inability to stop yawning in people’s faces. Sleep deprivation can lead to us being irritable, forgetful, unmotivated slumps who quite frankly, wouldn’t be welcome at the next company meeting.
On the other hand, enough good-quality sleep makes us sharper, smarter and a little bit better at everything we do.
1. It boosts learning and memory.
A well-rested brain has a higher ability to process new information and to retain this information. This is because it can make new neural connections, recognize patterns, and recall information much more easily than a tired one.
The latter part of this – which focuses on memory – is linked to a process called ‘consolidation’. When you nap, your brain replays events just gone; helping those new neural connections we mentioned stick.
So if you’re just about to be briefed on a new project, try having a power nap first. You’ll be surprised how much your clearer mind will take in, and remember, without having to refer to any minutes.
2. It boosts motivation.
Some days we’re work machines, flying through our to-do lists, efficiently banging out emails, throwing creative ideas into the pot and pacifying troubled clients until they’re positively beaming. Other days, well, we’re less so – in fact, we struggle to even remember our log-in details.
At times like this, a power nap is the best remedy. It’s like a whack of magic medicine to revitalise you, re-energise you and focus your mind on the task at hand.
Our lack of motivation is often because we can’t concentrate; we’re simply too exhausted to do so. We also find that our attention keeps wandering. When we’re rested, however, we’re less likely to become distracted and find ourselves banging around silly Buzzfeed articles when we should be getting to work.
Plus, a power nap gives your weary body a break, too – so you’ll physically have more energy to deal with whatever challenge you’re about to face. Bonus.
3. It aids decision-making.
Sleep deprivation has been proven to impact our cognitive performance in two ways: speed and accuracy. It can also lead us to making poor business decisions. This is because the brain is put under extra stress, which drains our energy reserves. And without enough mental power to make complex decisions…well, it’s back to staring stupidly at the drawing board for us.
Even taking a short power nap can have a dramatic effect on your decisiveness. There’s a reason why people decide to ‘sleep on it’, after all; they’re not just being lazy! So get those naps in, reach the right decisions faster and see your productivity soar.
So sleep is important for productivity. We get it. But how can we make sure we get enough of it, during the day and night?
Well, Forbes recommends having a 10-minute power nap every day. (And hey, if it’s good enough for the big business guys, it’s good enough for me!) But remember: Don’t nap for over 30 minutes – it’ll just make you sleepier. And try to keep your napping time early in the day if you can, otherwise it’ll affect how you get your snooze on at night.
If you want to get a better sleep at night, well the folks from Sleep Advisor can show you how; from buying the right pillow to choosing a better sleeping position. Combine a great night’s sleep with a daily nap and you’ll start to notice the difference in your family, social and work lives.
So what’re you waiting for? It’s time for you to be more productive – starting with a power nap.