In today’s fast-paced world, it can feel like sleep just gets in the way. All those hours that could be spent studying or working on a project for work wasted on sleep when you always wake up tired anyway. However sleep is a powerful tool that can actually help you get ahead.

Functioning Without Sleep

Everyone knows that when you’re tired you don’t work as well, but how much does lack of sleep really impact you? Drowsiness leads to more workplace accidents and even more traffic accidents. Being tired slows down your reaction time, so much so that your reaction time while you are tired is almost equivalent to you reaction time while drunk. This can cause many issues in the workplace, as well as in the classroom.

Memory Recall

When you sleep, your memories become more solidified in your mind. This could be because of the lack of external stimuli distracting your brain as the memories are reinforced, or because of the decrease in workload your brain typically has when your body is at rest. Perhaps a combination. Whatever the reason, sleep is extremely important if you want any hope of remembering all the flashcards you studied. NASA has found that lack of sleep can impact your memory recall up to two days later, so make sure that you rest up well before your exams.

Poor sleeping habits can also contribute to forgetfulness, impacting the process that helps you retain long-term memories. A regular sleep schedule and circadian rhythm can help combat this. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, while ensuring that you get in eight to nine hours each night.

Impaired Judgment

You know Snickers’ saying, “You’re not you when you’re hungry?” Well, you’re not you when you’re sleepy. Lack of sleep not only affects how we recall events, but how we perceive them as well. A tired person will not act as rationally or wisely as a well-rested person, and their judgment is overall less sound. However the poorest judgment a sleep-deprived person makes is about how much sleep deprivation actually affects them. Many people think that they can adapt to getting five or six hours of sleep a night, but this is not true. Although the physical effects of that sleep deprivation (grogginess, tired eyes, etc.) may dwindle, cognitive performance remains subpar. In addition, sleep-deprived people actually believe that they are performing better than well-rested people. This over-confidence combined with under-performance is a recipe for trouble.

Sleep makes you more attentive, more creative, and a better learner, while also making you feel better in day-to-day life. These attributes all lend to making you a more successful person in your career and in your life. Without sufficient sleep, your reactions, judgment, and memory are inhibited. So although an all-night studython before your big exam may seem like a good use of your time, make sure you’re hitting the pillow has much as you’re hitting the books.

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