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The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Productivity and Mental Health

Updated: Mar 15

As the world celebrates World Sleep Day, it's crucial to reflect on the profound significance of sleep in our lives. While often overlooked, sleep plays a fundamental role in our overall well-being, influencing both our productivity and mental health. Yet, in today's fast-paced society, sleep deprivation has become a pervasive issue, affecting millions worldwide.

Image of a beg and text saying the importance of sleep

Importance of Sleep

To make clear just how important sleep is for our overall functioning it is worth considering some of the negative outcomes to which a lack of sleep is responsible for. This includes a weakened immune system, various health problems, deficits on cognitive functioning such as attention and concentration, and an array of emotional and behavioural issues that might include heightened levels of irritability, agitation, and anxiety.

Statistics taken from tell us that 40% of adults and children suffer with sleep issues, and that 20% of road deaths are related to fatigue. Furthermore, the cost to the UK economy caused by sleep deprivation is at around 40.2 billion pounds. In addition to these salient points are the evidence which suggest sleep is especially important for memory. Sleep has proven itself time and again as a memory aid: both before learning, to prepare your brain for initially making new memories, and after learning, to cement those memories and prevent forgetting.

Below are some interesting points from the book Why We Sleep written by Dr Matthew Walker. We hope some of these illuminate the importance of sleep.

  • A teenager going to bed at 10pm is similar to an adult going to bed at 7:30pm

  • A teenager waking up at 7am is similar to an adult waking up at 4:30am

  • Sleeping before learning lets your brain be ready to learn

  • Sleeping after learning allows one to save memories properly.

  • Need at least 3 days of solid sleep after learning something to actually commit it to long-term memory

  • When learning a physical skill, you will be better at it after sleeping. Piano ex. - 30% improvement in newly learned motor skills after a full night’s sleep

  • Recovery sleeping doesn’t work. More than 3 nights of a full 8 hours are not enough to recover from 4 days of 6 hours

  • Dreams act as overnight therapy for you. Most dreaming happens in the 7th and 8th hours of sleep

  • Dream sleep increases creativity and problem-solving abilities significantly.

6 top tips to help you sleep

1. Consistent Schedule: Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time reinforces your body's internal clock.

2. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.

3. Limit Screen Time: The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.

4. Mindful Eating and Drinking: Avoid heavy meals and excessive liquids close to bedtime to prevent discomfort and nighttime awakenings.

5. Physical Activity: Regular exercise can improve sleep quality, but try to finish your workout several hours before bedtime.

6. Relaxation Techniques: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, meditation, or gentle stretches.

In a world that demands constant engagement, remember that sleep is not a luxury but a necessity. Prioritising sleep is an act of self-care that pays dividends in every aspect of your life. So, tuck yourself in, turn off the lights, and allow the magic of sleep to weave its transformative spell, nurturing your mind and body for a brighter, healthier future.

For more information on sleep health please visit the following:

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