How does Sleep Affect Your Productivity and Creativity?
How do you feel after a good night’s sleep? Do you feel rested, full of energy, and ready to take on the new day? Probably. The reason you feel good after a restful night is because sleep is incredibly powerful when it comes to rejuvenating the body. While we might not be consciously doing anything, a lot is going on in our mind and body while we are asleep.
The benefits of sleep on creativity and productivity
- Sleep makes our body stronger and less prone to disease meaning we can work longer and harder. When we are asleep, our bodies go into maintenance mode. Our worn-out muscles and skin tissue gets repaired and regenerated and damaged cells get discarded. Toxins that have entered our body through food, drink or even pollution, get cleared out of our bloodstream.
- Information we have picked up during the day is processed and sorted. We form new memories when we are asleep. While sorting the new information from the day, we discard a lot of the extra things that won’t serve us in the long run, but we store the important events as memories. Once our brain has had a chance to mull over a concept we have learned something new; which we then file away for later reference. Sleep clears the mind of the muddle, creating sharp and clear thinking.
- We increase energy and alertness. A well-rested brain has better perception and is better at problem solving. We are naturally more productive after a good night’s sleep because our brains have been given a chance to rest, restore, and process the thoughts and activities from the day.
What happens when we lose sleep?
One of the very first signs of lack of sleep is physical tiredness and drowsiness. Without the chance to repair itself our bodies act like a sports-car with terrible fuel. We find ourselves physically slow and mentally sluggish and with considerably compromised decision-making abilities.
Sleep deprivation can make us forgetful and irritable, reducing creativity. We suffer from brain fog and lose the power of critical analysis. Repeatedly losing sleep increases our stress levels making rational thinking very difficult.
Here’s what goes on with us on a very primitive level when we lose sleep: our brains get the message that we cannot relax because it is not safe. This causes a rise in cortisol levels which puts us in a fight or flight mode. When in fight or flight mode, our blood is redirected from all other parts of the body and sent directly to our arms and our legs. This mode was extremely useful to our cave dwelling ancestors who, when faced with a threat like a wild animal, needed to either fight or run away really fast. At that point, not thinking too much and just instinctively moving out of harm’s way was a matter of survival and served them very well.
Today, we are rarely faced with a real wild animal scenario, but our survival instincts are still intact. When we are stressed a threat is perceived and the brain and body react the same way they have for thousands of years. With a reduced supply of blood to our prefrontal cortex, decision-making and critical analysis take a hit. Our bodies feel edgy because they are primed for a burst of physical activity and when it doesn’t happen this leaves us irritable, fatigued, and cloudy.
What should we do?
We need to get better sleep. The goal is to follow our body's natural rhythm of wakefulness and sleep as closely as we can. We are governed by the cycle of light and darkness which regulates the hormones in our bodies, telling us when we should be awake and when we should be in bed.
Sticking as closely as possible to our body's original programming and using a great pillow like a Luxe Pillow is crucial for our physical and mental health. A good night’s sleep helps the body combat diseases, reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and also fight conditions like diabetes and obesity.
By making sleep a priority and forming a bedtime routine, we can help ourselves sleep better at night. And when our sleeping routine is on point and we have the right sleep aids we feel the difference in our productivity and creativity over time.