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10 Benefits of Sleep You’re Not Aware of

10 Benefits of Sleep You’re Not Aware of

I wish sleep was unnecessary. If I could forgo my shuteye andwork through the night, I would be unstoppable: imagine all the stuff that would get done! But this workaholic desire will never become a reality, because when I don’t get enough sleep, nasty consequences follow.I nodded offduring a drivehome from a musical festival last year (fortunately Isnapped awakemere seconds before a semi truck would have plowed straight through my car). And I’m too embarrassed to admit the number of movies, plays, and college classes I have dozed off during because I found myself in a dark room while being burdened by a substantial sleep debt(let’s just call it “expensive nap-time?”). As nice it would be to have an extra 6-8 hours per night, the benefits of sleep cannot be denied. If you’re looking for a good reason to improve your quality of sleep (or an excuse to take a nap after you finish this article), keep on reading.

1. Improve your brain power.

Just because you’re asleep doesn’t mean your brain isn’t busy behind the scenes. Have you ever felt panicked the night before an exam because you couldn’t recall any of the material you were cramming in, but then the next morning you woke up to discover a staggering difference in your ability to remember? If so, this happened because your brain strengthens your memories while you sleep. Whether you’re learning a new language, studying for a test, or exploring a new hobby, expect to perform better after a good night’s sleep.

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2. Enjoy more (and better) sex.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation discovered an alarming trend among Americans: one out of every four adults married to or living with a partner say they are often “so sleep-deprived that they are too tired to have sex.” Theexcuse “too tired to have sex” shouldn’t even exist, soplease improve your sleep (for the sake of your sex life!).

3. Lose weight while you sleep.

Several studiespoint in the direction of aconnection between a poor night’s sleep and weight gain. A recent study by the American Heart Associationfound that the sleep-deprived participants ate an average of 549 additional calories more than the control group (who slept an additional hour and twenty minutes).

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4.Increased safety on the road.

A lack of sleep could lead to danger. According to a study by the American Automobile Association, 1 out of 6 deadly traffic accidents are due to drowsy driving. If you can help it, please don’t get behind the wheel when you’re so sleepy you can barely hold your head up. The signs of drowsy driving include drifting into another lane, frequent blinking, and lapses of concentration (i.e. when you realize you’re 10-20 miles farther and you didn’t even notice the journey).

5. Stay calm and cool at work.

While you shouldn’t numb yourself to feeling emotions, that doesn’t mean you should have a shouting match with a co-worker or boss. Surely you’ve noticed that a horrible night of sleep has a way of making you feel horrible (imagine!). The worse you feel, the more likely you are to lose your cool when faced with stressful situations.

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6. Improve your athletic performance.

A study by the Stanford School of Medicinesuggests that sleep could help athletes improve their performance. The college basketball players began the study by making no changes to their sleep schedule for 2-4 weeks. They were then asked to aim for 10 hours of sleep for the following 5-7 weeks. The well-rested athletes improved their speed, their free throw accuracy by 9%, their 3-point field goal accuracy by 9.2%, and their in-game performance.

7. Get more done in less time.

The irony of being “too busy to sleep”: neglecting to give your body the rest it needs merely makes it more difficult to pay attention (meaning it will take you longer to complete the task at hand).

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8. Reduce stress.

Are you having a hard time sleeping because you’re stressed, or are you stressed because you’re having a hard time sleeping? Your quality of sleep and level of stress are so closely related that it can be hard to tell the difference, but the fact remains: a good night of shuteye will help you get rid of the nasty mental monsters living inside your thoughts. If you manage your stress, you can also look forward to improved heart health and blood pressure levels.

9. Boost immunity from sickness.

Want to avoid getting a cold or flu now that sweater weather is upon us? If so, get comfy under that blanket, because sleeping will help you stay healthy this fall and winter. A study by the Archives of Internal Medicinefound that individuals sleeping less than 7 hours per night were 3 times more likely to get a cold than those who slept 8 or more.

10. It justfeels good.

Your body needs sleep to survive (and anything you need to survive feels good when you need it).Think abouthow it feels when you get busy and have todelay a meal for several hours later than usual. Sure, your stomach gets grumpy and hungry, but isn’t that first bite delicious? Your body feels the same way about sleep when it needs rest. Be okay with the fact that you can’t work every hour of every day. Get a good night’s sleep (because it just feels good!).Read this article to check out 10 things that will help you sleep better. What benefits of sleep have you noticed in your life?

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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