Sleep Your Way To Success

Once into the preparation for any competitive examination, you are bound to get a lot of tips and advices to complete this journey on a successful note. Make a time table. Adopt a holistic approach. Know the syllabus. Read newspapers to acquire in-depth knowledge of current affairs. Make notes. Practise answer-writing. Attempt as many mock tests as you can. Prioritise your time. And so on. But, today, I would like to stress the importance of one of the most simple and natural things in life, on which success of all other things hinges on. I do it not in the way of an advice but a humble request. Please do not ignore your sleep—a deep, good, healthy and rejuvenating sleep.

I say so because these days some take lesser hours of sleep like a badge of honour. They believe that the less time they spend resting, the more productive they are. They think that they would have more time in their hand for studies if they cut a few hours of their sleep. They think the idea of sleep as time wasted. In reality, a sound preparation needs you to remain fresh and agile all the time, and this requires a regular good sleep. More so because, as you know, any important competitive examination is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s a long race which demands lots of stamina. Only the calm and steady wins this race. A number of modern scientific researches have shown that sleep actually propels your success in several ways. From physical to mental, rest plays many important roles in how you act, think, feel and perform. As English author and dramatist Thomas Dekker (1572-1632) once said, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”

There are a number of reasons that show how a good sleep helps you to attain better success. For one, sleep makes you more receptive to learning. For students, learning is the entire purpose of their whole effort. It has scientifically been proved that lack of sleep reduces attention and motivation, making it harder to grasp new information. Sleep enhances creativity. Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue and drowsiness that reduce your brain’s agility and the ability to form complex and new solutions to a problem. A Harvard study found that sleep increased a person’s ability to make connections between distantly related ideas by 33%.  Moreover, good sleep reduces likelihood of errors. When you are sleep-deprived, your reaction time, decision-making capabilities and memory are all impaired according to most sleep researches. Put together, these factors make you more likely to commit mistakes. A sound sleep also reduces risk of accidents. Also, when you are sleep-deprived, your immune system is not functioning optimally. Proper and good sleep enhances your immune system and, in turn, brightens chances of your success.  In a nutshell, when you are well-rested, your attention span is optimised, your mood and motivation is stronger, you are better able to learn and remember facts, and you are more creative and productive.

Here are 10 simple tips to improve your sleep. First, turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment. A quiet, dark and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Second, establish a soothing pre-sleep routine. Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before going to bed. Third, go to sleep when you are truly tired as struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. Fourth, use light to your advantage. Natural light keeps your internal clock on healthy sleep-wake cycle. So, while sleep in the dark and cool environment, let the natural light in for the first thing in the morning. Fifth, and very important, keep your internal clock set with a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Sixth, lighten up on evening meals. Finish dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion, particularly in dinner. Finally, exercise early. Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. However, try to finish exercise at least 3 hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.

So, welcome a deep, calming slumber to give your body the rest and nourishment it deserves. With a good night’s sleep, you will be able to extract optimum from your studies. However, never mistake the ‘sound sleep’ mantra as an excuse to be lazy, or dilly-dally and procrastinate the required veritable prolonged hard work—which is always a must for success. Indeed, Swami Vivekananda had said: ‘Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached’—but note that he exhorted to ‘arise and awake’ only in terms of the slumber of ignorance.

With these words, I wish you an easy, effortless, sound sleep to wake up to a more shining success in life.

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