Of all the things that helps us perform at our peak, the most effective is still getting a good night’s sleep. When we sleep, we re-charge the brain and body, consolidate learning and neutralise stress chemicals. You need 7-8 hours sleep a night to be most effective.
Although some people think that they can get by on less sleep than this, the research suggests that if we get only 5 hours sleep, 3-4 nights in a row, it has the equivalent effect of staying up for 24 hours straight. This sort of sleep deprivation has a terrible effect on our cognitive ability, our physical endurance and our immune system. It is actually comparable to being legally drunk!
Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Have a pre-bed routine – try to do the same things in the 30-40mins prior to going to bed
- Go to sleep at roughly the same time every night – this helps establish a pattern
- Get up at the same time every morning – this is even more important than going to sleep at the same time
- Try warm milk or chamomile tea to help you relax prior to bed
- Write out tomorrow’s important to-do’s – this will help to free your mind
There isn’t a magic bullet for performance, but a good night’s sleep is pretty close