Are you in a bad mood after a night's poor sleep, too? Do you have difficulty concentrating, even after four cups of coffee? This isn't surprising when you understand how important sleep is for good health, concentration, motivation, and mood!
Why is sleep good for you?
During sleep, a bunch of things are happening at the same time: the brain is being washed and refreshed for the next day; memories are permanently stored; after a night of good sleep, the body is better able to handle sugars and carbohydrates; muscles are repaired after an intense workout. Sleep has so many effects, I can't possibly name them all here!
How much and when should you sleep?
You probably know this better than I do, or rather, your body knows this better than I do. The body knows exactly how much sleep you need and when the best time to sleep is for you. But most people ignore this information. Isn't it more fun to finish watching that movie or series? You can sleep in tomorrow anyways.
However, the consequences of irregular sleep schedules become clear in long-term shift-workers: they have far more health issues than do people with regular 9-5 jobs.
What disrupts your sleep?
Light determines when your body wants to sleep. In the dark, you make melatonin, the sleep hormone. When it's still light around you (or when you are watching tv), it won't get dark enough to start melatonin production. Most people need around 7-8 hours sleep every night, so calculate for yourself when you should go to bed to get up on time the next day. Try turning off all screens and bright lights at least 2 hours before bed time.
Also, expose yourself to sunlight during the day. This will help if you are still tired even after 9 hours of sleep. This will let your body know when it's day and when it's night.
It's also useful to prevent 'Second Wind'. Second wind is a period of wakefulness between 23:00 and 02:00 at night. If you spend hours awake in bed, maybe it's because you didn't go to bed early enough. It's a bit counter-intuitive, but getting up earlier and going to bed sooner will help you get more sleep.
More tips to help you sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep, try to move and work out more. Physical fatigue from exercise can help you fall asleep more easily.
It can also be helpful to not eat shortly before sleeping. Try not to snack after dinner. After all, you probably don't need the energy in the evening right before bedtime.
With these tips you'll be able to correct most sleep issues and improve your concentration. Are you motivated to explore more concentration-improving tools after a good night sleep? Read our e-book to learn about 8 tools to improve concentration.