You only get 6 hours of sleep one night, and you wake up feeling groggy. So you go to bed early the next night and get 10 hours of sleep, and you’re still groggy. Something’s got to give!
People spend roughly a third of their lives sleeping, so it’s not surprising to learn how important sleep is to the function of our bodies and minds. Our cognitive function is seriously affected by our sleep, and this goes for when we get too little and too much. In this Thrive in Five, we explore the effects and what we can do to make sure we’re getting our best sleep possible.
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More is not always better!
There are TONS of studies out there about how a lack of sleep affects you, but we’ve narrowed our focus down to a few fast facts you may not know, shared by the NeuroLeadership Institute:
- An estimated 80,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day. (No, we did not accidentally add an extra zero.)
- When you sleep, your brain “practices” activities you did during the day to help increase proficiency and improve your memory of them.
- One bad night of sleep does more damage than one good one can repair.
- A 10-minute nap has the biggest benefit in alertness and performance both immediately after and up to three hours later.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room: too much sleep isn’t good either!
Dr. Mercola shared a study that we found very interesting. The study concluded that, while cognitive function starts to decrease a little every year naturally from aging, the cognitive function of those who slept 9 hours or more every night decreased twice as much as those who slept 6-8 hours every night, leading to an increased risk for dementia-related health problems.
Similarly, the University of Western Ontario conducted the world’s largest sleep study (44,000 people) and concluded that peoples’ cognitive functions, particularly their problem-solving abilities, are equally negatively affected when they get too little and too much sleep.
With all this being said, it’s important to understand what exactly is the right amount of sleep for you, so you can maintain your optimal brain function. Basically all the research out there recommends between 7 and 9 hours, but, like many statistics, this is based on a bell-curve, so there are people whose ideal range of sleep ranges all the way from 4 hours to 12 hours a night.
Apply the Five!
The key to getting a good night’s sleep is to find the amount of sleep that works best for you and stay consistent. To help you determine how much is the right amount for you, we’ve created another tool, which you can access below. It’s fairly basic, so if you want something more advanced and more accessible, there are tons of apps out there. Either way, the goal is to individualize your sleep pattern to fit what works best for you.
Learn How Evans Thrives!
What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?
Meet Mila Hanauer!We always hear that it is important to take care of our health. This becomes crucial when you find yourself a new parent back to work and running short on sleep. Having to get up in the middle of the night (sometimes more than once!), forces you to pay close attention to sleep. Running your body on overdrive can only take you so far before you reach diminishing returns…
After going back to work, I had to figure out how to manage my time and my sleep to be efficient both at work and at home. I have learned that I need to listen to my body and notice when it functions best. Now I know that it works best for me to tackle the most important task of the day in the morning when I am most alert. I also know that no matter how tempting, snoozing after 7am does not make me feel more rested. Just like my baby, I thrive on having a schedule and going to bed around the same hour every night.
Just remember that your body knows what you need to stay healthy. All you need is to pay attention, listen… and sleep!
Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)