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10 Reasons Sleep is The Most Important Part of Your Life

10 Reasons Sleep is The Most Important Part of Your Life

Although sleep is absolutely necessary, many people have a love-hate relationship with it. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to hear entrepreneurs and other go-getters decry sleep by saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That viewpoint may help them launch a new business a few days sooner, but it’s definitely not doing them any other favors. There are numerous scientifically proven reasons that you need to get a good night’s sleep, and ignoring this need can lead to serious consequences.

1. Sleeping Helps Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease

Everyone has problems falling asleep from time to time, but if you are chronically suffering from a lack of sleep, your odds of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes will significantly increase. With this in mind, individuals who have insomnia, sleep apnea or another complication that makes it difficult to have a restful night should consider talking to their doctor about getting a sleep aid. It is also important to note that regular exercise and following a set bedtime and wake-up routine will help.

2. Sleep Makes You Feel Good

We all know the glorious feeling of waking up after a good night’s sleep. Our minds feel sharper, our bodies have fewer aches, and we’re more physically and emotionally equipped to take on the rest of the day. Unfortunately, getting to this happy stage is very difficult for some people. If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, it is wise to follow some scientifically proven methods for fixing the problem.

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For example, a post on the science of sleeping suggests cooling your face, dropping the temperature in your bedroom to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and taking the rather unorthodox seeming approach of trying to force yourself to stay awake while lying in bed. Apparently, those who stare at the ceiling instead of having their eyes closed typically fall asleep more quickly.

3. Sleeping Helps with Weight Management

Have you ever noticed that you feel hungrier when you are sleep deprived? Researchers from Hendrix College studied this phenomenon with college students. They conclusively proved that a lack of sleep leads to an increased daily consumption of approximately 300 calories. This happens because the brain needs sleep to perform its best. When it doesn’t get enough, it burns through glucose, carbs, and other human fuels more quickly than usual in an attempt to keep you alert and fully functional. If you want to lose weight, eight hours of sleep should be part of your nightly routine.

4. Naps Boost Productivity

Studies by NASA and Dr. Sara C. Mednick have found that naps serve another vital function in our overall sleep needs. In fact, if you take a nap of at least 26 minutes between 1 and 4 p.m., you’ll experience a productivity boost of up to 34 percent. When you consider the impact that productivity levels can have on everything from your job performance to completing personal tasks, it becomes easy to see why everyone should be given a nap break during the day.

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You may not be able to get your employer to sanction this idea, but consider using part of your lunch break to help you catch a few extra ZZZs.

5. Sleeping Helps Your Immune System

Your immune system is constantly at work attempting to protect you from a long list of potential illnesses. You can help it have a high rate of success by getting at least seven hours of sleep per night. Sadly, those who are unable to do this will suffer from an impaired immune system that leaves them more prone to catching a cold or the flu.

One study even found that sleep deprivation following a vaccination could reduce the effects of the vaccine by as much as 50 percent. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you get enough sleep if you wish to remain as healthy as possible.

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6. Sleep Provides A Cognitive Boost

If you have a big test or presentation tomorrow, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to get a good night’s sleep. This is because researchers have determined that there is a strong link between sleep and cognitive performance. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain will experience reduced blood flow. As a result, your cognitive speed, attention to detail, memory retention and recall, decision-making skills, and emotional intelligence will all begin to plummet.

Even if you sleep a solid eight hours tonight, these issues will begin to show up approximately 16 hours after you wake up. This helps highlight just how bad of an idea it is to pull an all-nighter.

7. Sleep Helps You Age More Gracefully

Everyone has probably had the experience of looking at themselves in the mirror the morning after a poor night’s sleep. You may have been shocked to see that you looked rougher than usual, and this is not a coincidence. When you sleep, your body releases certain hormones that are essential for skin health and overall well-being. Failure to get enough sleep disrupts this release and could remove it altogether. In children, this can even lead to stunted growth. Therefore, if you want to look your best, sleep is one of the easiest ways to achieve this goal.

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8. Sleep Provides A Mood Boost

Perhaps one of sleep’s most essential functions is to help people maintain a stable mood. Those who have chronic insomnia often suffer from higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Even just one night without the proper amount of sleep can have a negative impact on your mood and ability to deal with stressful situations. This highlights yet again why sleeping is a better usage of your time than late-night cramming before a test or any other big event.

9. Sleep Deprivation Increases Cravings

Aside from simply making you hungrier, sleep deprivation also causes an increased craving for food that is high in sugar and carbs. This explains why people who have a rough night without a lot of sleep find themselves reaching for candy that they might otherwise skip. Again, this usually leads to an increase in calories, and it’s another symptom of poor sleep that can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.

10. Sleep is Essential for Libido

If your libido has been waning lately, it is good idea to take a closer look at how much sleep you’re getting. This is because testosterone becomes reduced after a lack of sleep, which makes women feel less interested in any type of sexual activity. Shockingly, every lost hour of sleep causes a 14 percent drop in libido. Therefore, whether trying to get pregnant has become an unpleasant chore or you simply feel less interested in sex than you used to, you may be able to boost your libido significantly by adding one more hour of sleep to your nightly routine.

As you can see, sleep really is one of the most important parts of your life. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep, you may want to try one of the simple hacks that make it possible to fall asleep within 30 seconds. Your body will thank you for it!

Featured photo credit: Yesilist via yesilist.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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