The benefits of quality sleep go way beyond physical health. Getting quality sleep helps you develop and strengthen a growth mindset, which is vital to maximize your potential. While it may seem easy to forgo sleep for work or school, studies have shown that sufficient rest can actually help your learning abilities and skill development.
One example is a study published in the Scientific Reports Journal, which established a correlation between sleep and students’ school performance. The researchers found that students with irregular sleep schedules were more likely to get low grades. What’s remarkable was that a gradual increase in sleep resulted to cumulative improvements in GPA.
Having quality sleep consistently will enable your mind and body to function properly as well as absorb new information. In turn, absorbing new information and becoming smarter provides evidence that intelligence is malleable and can be changed through our own actions. Here are some other ways sleep is important for learning and development:
1. Enhances creativity and problem-solving skills There are scientists who found that quality sleep sharpens the brain – an effect observed in a study conducted by the University of Luebeck in Germany. In the experiment, researchers saw that participants who were able to sleep for 8 hours were more likely to find solutions to mathematical problems, and their creativity was enhanced. The results are considered to be the first concrete proof of the direct relationship between adequate sleep and creativity as well as problem-solving skills.
2. Boosts memory Sleep expert Dr. Paul Gringas explained that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning skills, citing a study by the National Center of Biotechnology Information. Sleep helps store what you have learned or studied beforehand, and lack of it can make you forget parts – or even all – of the information. Additionally, it’s important to note that age is a factor in terms of recommended sleeping hours. For example, children aged 6 to 12 years old are advised to have 9 hours of sleep per day, while teenagers aged 13 to 18 should have at least 8 hours.
3. Encourages self-discipline In modern society and its many distractions, a lot of people find it difficult to fall asleep easily, which is why self-discipline is important to form good sleeping habits. Interestingly, it works the other way around too, as lack of sleep has been found to impede self-discipline and self-control, which could affect matters like studies and work. Fast Company lays out the details, identifying the brain’s pre-frontal cortex region as mainly responsible for self-control. It needs glucose to function normally, which gets replenished after a good night's rest. This can affect everything, from your food choices to ethical behavior. Of course, self-discipline is needed in enhancing your skills because it takes a lot of focus, patience, and endurance to ensure that an ability is developed or information is fully-absorbed.
4. Helps manage your emotions In a similar manner as self-control, researchers at the University of California found that lack of sleep can make a person very emotional, sprouting from the exhaustion caused by the habit. You may even react negatively to situations or statements that aren’t necessarily offensive, leading to fixed mindset behaviors. Getting quality sleep can help keep your emotions in check and enable you to think clearly in many situations. This then results to good judgment and making better decisions.
Practicing a growth mindset is a continuous process, which can be made easier when you have sufficient quality sleep. Bear in mind that rest is as important as your work and achieving balance in both can take you to greater heights, be it in academics or a professional career.
About the author: Harold Penn is a freelance writer. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, majoring in Psychology. He has since contributed to publications like Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.