5 Ways Sleep is a Magic Bullet

You have probably heard the saying “sleep on it”?—?there is good reason why that phrase was created. Sleep is something we all do, yet the benefits are not widely understood. It’s an undervalued way to enhance performance academically, athletically, and professionally. Are you studying for a big exam? Do you have an important presentation or interview coming up? How about a critical game? If so read on to learn why you need at least seven hours a night.

1. Increased Performance

In a Joe Rogan Experience podcast with neuroscientist Matthew Walker, Walker advises that for athletic skill, having at least 7 hours of sleep shows a 20–30% increase in performance compared to the day before. Keep practicing your jump shot, and notice how much it improves after a good nights sleep.

2. Cold Prevention

In a preliminary study according to WebMD, 150 people were part of a study and were split into two groups: one with 7 hours of sleep (or less), and another with 8 hours of sleep. Both groups were exposed to a cold virus. Guess which group was 3 times more likely to get sick? You got it, the 7 hour and less group. It seems 8 hours a day keeps the doctor away.

3. Improved Memory

In the past it was believed that sleep played a passive role in memory creation and formation. But, thanks to research conducted by University of Zurich they discovered that sleep is a force to reckon with for memory consolidation (which converts memory into long term storage). Further, sleep also eliminates any unnecessary info and retains only what we need to know. Work smarter not harder by getting at least 7 hours of sleep to enhance time spent studying or preparing for an important meeting. Prep during the day, and let your brain do the rest while you sleep.

4. Happiness and Mental Health

The link between mental health and sleep is the old chicken and egg conundrum?—?does mental health impact sleep, or does sleep impact mental health? Regardless, one thing is clear: proper amounts of sleep can increase happiness, reduce anxiety, and strengthen concentration. An article in Live Science examines this concept further and suggests that much of mental health problems stem directly from lack of sleep.

5. The Need for Naps

Let’s say you have every intention to get your minimum 7 hours in, but sometimes you might fall off the wagon, or let’s face it, even after a satisfying 8 hours you might want a little cat nap?—?studies show you’ll be better off for it. In Daniel Pink’s (2018) book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” he quotes research saying that sleep is beneficial “to performance on tasks, such as addition, logical reasoning” and that it even “increases ‘flow’, that profoundly powerful source of engagement and creativity” (pg. 67).

The Final Bullet

Therefore, next time you are preparing for a big day or you want to live your best life and maximize on your potential, make sure to “sleep on it” in order to bring out the best in you, and arm you with an arsenal of magic bullets.