This is Why You Should Schedule Relaxation and Sleep…

Photo of butterfly taken in Jerokiah’s backyard in August 2016.

Sleep Deprivation and Anxiety Reduce Productivity

The effects of stress and lack of sleep on academic performance has been widely studied in science; the results will make you change your daily habits. This weekend I scheduled time to go see my brother and his girlfriend out of town. We just relaxed, watched some movies and had some laughs. I always feel rejuvenated when my mind gets a break from research or other daily challenges.

According to a study by Dartmouth in 2008, the top three performance impediments were Stress (31%), Sickness (24%) and Lack of Sleep (18%). Those are pretty significant factors considering they are all things we can control through perception and habit.

Stress Factors and Effects

We encounter stress daily, which is good in moderation. Stress affects our bodies in many ways, including physically, socially and mentally. There are a number of ways to reduce your anxiety levels, which I will sum up with one phrase (I’m sure you’ve heard this before).

Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.

-Unknown

A few tips to help you clear your emotional state: Set realistic expectations for daily accomplishments; take a 15 minute break from technology (go outside, watch fish, smell the air); exercise; laugh; relax – through meditation or just watching a show.

Get More Sleep or Risk Your Health

Shockingly, sleep deprivation is linked to serious health risks and a number of other factors that severely hinder our ability to function. WebMD published 10 effects of sleep loss.

  1. Causes Accidents
  2. Dumbs you down
  3. Serious Heart Problems; Stroke; Diabetes
  4. Kills Sex Drive o.O
  5. Causes Depression
  6. Ages Your Skin
  7. Causes Forgetfulness
  8. Weight Gain
  9. Increases Risk of Death (like heart disease)
  10. Impairs Judgement

To summarize, sleep and relaxation are more important than we tend to give them credit for. How many times have we created our own anxiety through just by staying plugged-in too long? Starting with just 15 minute breaks and an extra hour of sleep can make a huge difference. Usually, I will take about 15 minutes every hour or two to walk outside and observe nature to come back with a fresh perspective. This weekend I actually spent a couple of days out of town with family and the world kept spinning without a daily post from me. I didn’t research anything. I did think about my next blog topic, but decided to switch the theme up a bit when I returned.

I hope you have found this information helpful. How do you schedule time to relax?

Images: (1) Butterfly on stick pile in my backyard. (2) Creek behind my property.
Sources: (1) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~healthed/relax/ (2) http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#1