Sleep - How it can improve your productivity

Sleep can seem like the enemy of productivity.  Doesn't sleep get in the way of us being productive?  Because without it we would have more hours in the day.  An average person spends a third of their life asleep, and we can look at that as a waste of time, if we don't understand its importance.  However, sleep is actually essential to us performing and functioning at our best, even down to the smallest tasks. In sleep our mind is literally cleansed and our bodies rested and repaired.  So lets look at what our body is actually doing while we rest and how it helps us to be more productive when we are awake.

What are the different phases of sleep?

From getting into to bed to waking up in the morning, we pass through different cycles or phases of sleep. Each phase lasts from around 70 to 120 minutes and serves a different purpose in our overall sleep quality.  A good nights sleep equals a day full of productivity to follow.  The phases of sleep are:

  • Drifting off into sleep.
  • Slowing of the mind and body as we settle in to sleep
  • Deep sleep
  • REM (rapid eye movement) state of sleep

What is actually happening whilst we sleep?

Phase 1 - Drifting into sleep

This is when we have begun to feel tired.  We settle down into bed, close our eyes and begin to relax.  This is when the mind can either begin to settle, or become overactive if you struggle with anxiety or find it difficult to fall asleep.  We find a position we feel comfortable in and drift off into sleep.  Once we have drifted into sleep thousands of neurons in the brain send signals to the body.  This can be the easiest phase of sleep to wake up from, as small distractions can disturb you.

Phase 2 - Slowing of the mind and body

In phase 2 we are in a restful state of sleep.  Our breathing pattern begins to slow, and our heart rate also slows down.  Our muscles begin to fully relax, and the body's total energy expenditure drops.  Our body settles in to the parasympathetic nervous system or its rest and digest mode.  This allows the body to come into a state of calm, and allows the digestion and immune system to function efficiently.

Phase 3 - Deep Sleep

Deep sleep is when our bodies are fully rested and we enter into recovery mode.  Our body works on repairing itself.  Also our hormones regulate and release throughout sleep.  Melatonin is released promoting good sleep.  The growth hormone is produced which supports bone and muscle development and metabolism.  Cortisol, which regulates the bodies stress response system, and leptin and ghrelin which helps control our appetite.  The production of these hormones during the night, helps us function better during the day.

Phase 4 - REM Sleep

The REM state of sleep is our deepest stage of sleep.  During this phase the brain actually becomes more active, heart rate and breathing can pick back up, but muscles are paralyzed.  We are most susceptible to dreams in this state.  As the brain is more active here, we enable critical cognitive abilities such as memory consolidation.  Our brain stores important information and registers what has happened during the day.

Sleep and productivity

So our bodies are still hard at work looking after us even whilst we sleep.  Things we can take for granted, but if we started skipping out on sleep we would start to notice the difference.  A lack of sleep can cause; tiredness, forgetfulness, disturb the bodies metabolism, headaches, and cause a dip in alertness and performance.  With sleep we keep the body functioning at its best.  Without it we have to use more energy to help the body feel better.  We might drink more coffee to make us feel more alert.  Or we might end up taking a day off and binge watching Netflix to help us feel better rested.

However the moral of the story is that prioritising sleep in the long run will allow us to be more productive for longer periods of time. A good nights sleep benefits our overall health and wellbeing, which in turn effects how we act on a day to day basis.  So prioritise your sleep!  Rest is not your enemy.

Need help perfecting your night time routine ready to boost your productivity the next day?  Check out our previous post Perfect your bedtime routine.  For products to help you sleep from essential oils to mood lighting and aroma candles, visit our online shop HERE

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