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Sleeping your way to productivity
By Ieva Asnina
Where did I put those notes for tomorrow’s meeting? Did I blow out that candle? Insert panic mode as my mind realises that an important deadline is a week from now. And before you know it, you’re up and doing everything above.
‘Sleep’ and ‘productivity’ may sound like complete opposites, but they work hand-in-hand. It’s no secret that sleep is important. You hear study after study, report after report telling us we should be getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. That sleep is fundamental for your wellbeing and mental health. Yet there’s a stigma surrounding it. The workaholic inside us repeats ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’. ‘One more hour’, you tell yourself as your fingers keep typing but your eyes are closing.
And when we are in bed, if we’re not reading through emails or doing last minute revision, we’re glued to some sort of screen. In fact, a 2011 American National Sleep Survey revealed that 95 per cent of people use some kind of electronic device in the hour before bed. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, watching YouTube videos that somehow always lead you to animals. It’s all fun and games until you realise its 2AM and you have a 6AM start. Suddenly those cats aren’t as cute anymore.
A 2013 study by the Sleep Council found that more than four in ten Britons feel positive after a good night’s sleep, with almost a quarter feeling productive. We’re in a world where everything is so fast paced. You have numerous high profile singers creating songs about working. So it’s easy to feel that sleep is a waste of time when you could be doing something productive. But all the signs are there that we should be sleeping our way to productivity. Especially when you consider that a bad night’s sleep affects our mood and concentration.
Only 32 per cent of people aged 16-24 said they sleep well. This age group’s sleep is affected primarily by worry and stress, with 53 per cent saying that it is severe enough to keep them awake, according to the Sleep Council.
Sleep may not solve your problems and stress won’t disappear overnight. But it should be the one time of the day where you are unplugged from the rest of the world. No one is expecting you to reply to an email at 12AM. And last-minute revision cramming will do more harm than good. Sleep doesn’t have to be your enemy.
Hi, I’m Ieva. Originally from Latvia, I’m currently a second-year journalism student at the London College of Communication and an occasional blogger. I’m a self-confessed news and celebrity junkie and an avid reader of crime novels. I believe that student lifestyle is just as important as what happens in our communities and in wider society. What we do outside of our studies, the things we can’t live without and the moments that drive us crazy, are what shapes who we are and bring us all together. I look forward to exploring this theme further as an NUS Journalist because the team at NUS offer a great platform for students’ voices to be heard, loud and clear.