Sleep to Success: How to be Lazy and Productive at the Same Time
National Sleep Awareness Month has reminded us that it’s important to get proper sleep. Now, it’s time to have some fun! The human mind is an amazing thing. It allows you to be creative and to rest up to fuel even more creativity, just by your consuming delicious food and sleeping right! What else can it do?
Full disclosure: some of the stuff we’re going to explore today hasn’t been totally proven – the science behind it is still new. The thing is, it hasn’t been disproven either, which is why scientists are so fascinated with all of these studies.
Things You Can Do While You’re Sleeping
Sleep is when the brain refreshes its memories. This is why children and teenagers – who have a lot of growing and learning to do, both physically and mentally – need more sleep. While you are awake, experiences are quick and you have to deal with them in the moment. When you sleep, your brain takes those first impressions that it remembers, processes them, and then files them away in your long-term memory. This way, you are ready the next time you encounter similar situations. While you’re awake, you have to deal with these encounters – when you’re asleep, you can review and plan.
In addition, new research suggests that you may actually be able to learn some new things while you sleep. In a recent study, researchers played a series of sound patterns for two groups of 20 people. The sound patterns were played for twenty people before they slept. These patterns were played, on and off, for the other group of 20 people while they were sleeping. The researchers also monitored the phase of sleep that the test subjects were in. To their surprise, the research team found that most of the participants remembered which sounds were played if they heard them during REM sleep! In contrast, sleepers didn’t remember the sounds at all when they were played in the other phases of sleep.
What does this all mean? Well not much yet, because this is only one study. But, the fun of National Sleep Awareness Month is that you can indulge in any sleep idea you have or have ever had (assuming it’s safe). In that spirit, we’re celebrating the theory of learning in your sleep. We’re supporting the cause by giving you seven great ideas of things you can do in your sleep! These seven tidbits are fun ways to enjoy the last week of National Sleep Awareness Month. So without further ado, we begin with…
Mastering a Foreign Language
Can you really learn a foreign language by playing language recordings as you sleep? Of course not. If that was possible, why would anybody ever go to school? But, you can help yourself learn better while you sleep, by reinforcing things you’ve already learned. One study found that people who played recordings of people speaking another language while they slept remembered the words much better than people who just studied them. While you still do have to study and practice, you can get better a lot faster if you expose yourself to those words constantly – especially while you sleep.
This technique tends to work best if you play familiar audio of a YouTube video, podcast or recording in the foreign language while sleeping. Pick something you’ve already watched or heard before, and make sure you don’t play it so loud that you keep yourself up! You still have to sleep, you know!
The sweet spot seems to be a low enough volume that it almost becomes white noise, but loud enough that you can actually make out the words you’re hearing. Researchers say that as long as you get to bed within twelve hours of when you last studied, you should be able to improve your learning. Try it the next time you’re making a trip out of the country. The natives will be blown away by your level of pronunciation!
If speaking another language isn’t appealing to you, this might be – you can actually become better looking while you sleep! This isn’t exactly something new – people have been talking about “beauty sleep” forever. The online magazine Brit + Co has given 40 – count ‘em, 40! – ways to become more beautiful while you sleep! Some of our favorites include:
- Applying spot treatments before bed– to eliminate blemishes
- Lip scrubbing – to make your lips more kissable
- Refrigerating your eye creams – they work better when cold
- All kinds of hair curling – with heat, without heat, natural; unnatural – who knew?
- Wearing Special socks – to make your feet softer
- Silk pillowcases – to keep your curls smooth and soft and avoid frizziness
- Every kind of facial mask – look, just read the article! You can do a lot to be prettier while you sleep!
Why do we put money in a bank? For compounding interest, of course. So while we sleep, our money multiplies. But are we doing enough? Experts say that if you can take a little bit of money out of every paycheck and put it in a high yield savings account, you can make a lot more money than you can by just putting it in the bank. Combine that with retirement securities of any kind, like stocks, bonds, or mutual funds and you’re making even more money. The nice thing about sleeping on this kind of investment is that you won’t be spending it, so all it will do is grow. The more time passes, the more you make, and the more you sleep, the more your money is growing.
You’re probably thinking, “Aw, come on! How can somebody cook while they sleep?” We suggest investing in a slow cooker.
The long cooking times of slow cookers allow you to snooze while creating a delicious meal. With some research and creativity, the possibilities are endless. Slow cooker recipes are usually easy to make, with only one step of preparation – putting food into the slow cooker. This allows you to tenderize less expensive cuts of meat, bring out the flavor of foods, and use a lot less electricity. If just reading about the delicious slow-cooked stews, soups and casseroles you can make are making you hungry, what are you waiting for? Load up your slow cooker and go to sleep!
National Sleep Awareness Month does coincide with the “March Madness” NCAA Basketball Tournament, but we’re not talking about traveling in basketball. We’re talking about long plane trips at night when most of us should be sleeping.
Although a “red-eye flight” doesn’t allow you to enjoy the comforts of sleeping on a high-quality mattress from Lull, you can still get some sleep on a red-eye. If you want to save some money and optimize your time usage, taking a late night flight is one way to get more done while you’re sleeping.
Some ways to help yourself sleep while in the sky is to get a sleeping mask and noise canceling headphones. These will block out noise and light so that you can get your z’s on. Reclining your seat back will allow for a more comfortable rest. Just show up sleepy to your red-eye flight to save time and energy.
Expanding Your Musical Ability
A study suggests that you can make yourself better at music while you’re sleeping. Researchers taught participants two melodies by having them play a computer game in which they could play music by moving circles on a screen. Then they had the participants take a 90-minute nap and played only one of the tunes over and over again while the participants entered “slow wave sleep.” When the sleepers awoke, they were not only better at recreating both tunes but were particularly better at the one they heard in their sleep. The test subjects had varying levels of musical ability, but they all improved after only 90 minutes of sleep exposure!
The study proves that if you learn something by audio shortly before sleeping (remember the 12-hour rule), you will retain it better, even with less sleep. It also suggests that slow wave sleep, or SWS, can be as helpful as REM sleep in learning music. Perhaps all that time you spent mastering “Guitar Hero” may not have been wasted after all!
Once you’ve tried all of these ideas to close out National Sleep Awareness Month, they should all bring you back to the most important idea – that sleep is important. People who get better sleep consistently have better memories than people who don’t. While sleep tricks might help you learn a little, and time-saving ideas may make the most of it, just getting your best sleep is the most helpful. Nothing helps with better sleep more than sleeping on a cloud-like gel-infused memory foam mattress from Lull.
A Lull mattress maintains the ideal body temperature and controls transferring motion. In addition, a Lull gives you perfect spinal alignment and bounces back so you don’t sink into your bed. Lull’s bed-in-a-box mattress practically sets itself up to give you the best sleep you won’t ever forget. If getting great sleep strengthens your memory, the Lull will have your mind like a steel trap. If you want to cook, collect interest or be beautiful in the morning, it will help you do all that too.
You’ll get the best sleep results when sleeping on a premium mattress from Lull. With a ten year warranty, you can comfortably learn, improve your memory, or do anything else science says great sleep will allow. Sleep well!