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Let’s face it, ladies – we’re busy people. Between that god-awful 8:00 am class, your ten to twelve shift at the field house, sports practice that usually runs way past the two hour mark, and that film viewing that you almost forgot about…you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once…and you haven’t even had your coffee yet. As career-driven and ambitious young women, it’s easy for us to place our own well being on the back burner, ignoring the signals that our bodies tell us. According to the Harvard Business Review, there is a magic ingredient to success, and it’s a lot less painless than you may think… sleep! 

 

 

While most people focus mainly on eating right and daily exercise as forms of self-betterment, they tend to ignore the only time that our minds and muscles can recover. Sleep is the most crucial time for your body to process everything that it “learned” throughout the course of a day, whether you finally memorized that equation or solved the microeconomics problem set or ran your fastest mile of the season. When you sleep, your daily accomplishments become a part of muscle memory. Yep, that’s right, your muscles can store memory too.  

Bronwyn Fryer, author of “Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer”, of the Harvard Business Review says, “I would recommend that supervisors undergo training in sleep and fatigue management and that they promote good sleep behavior. People should learn to treat sleep as a serious matter. Both the company and the employees bear a shared responsibility to ensure that everyone comes to work well rested.” Putting yourself in a position of fatigue not only makes you less valuable to your professors, coaches, or friends, but it actually slows down your ultimate goals. Do you want to make Dean’s List for the spring semester? Well pulling all-nighters is not the answer.

 

So, how much sleep do you really need? Ultimately, 9.25 hours of uninterrupted sleep is the goal for young college women, but like I said, we’re busy people! If at first you can’t make enough time, set small goals. Aim for no less than 8 hours per night, napping in 20 minutes intervals throughout the day if you feel fatigued. Can’t seem to nap even though you feel exhausted? Don’t worry, simply lying down with your eyes closed is still beneficial, allowing your brain to play “catch up”. Sleep schedules can seem overwhelming at first – how in the world are you going to get all of your work done?! But trust us, the more you sleep, the more productive you will be while you aren’t sleeping, ultimately saving yourself many unnecessary hours cooped up in the library. 

Want to learn more about sleep studies? Visit The Harvard Business Review online at hbr.org!

 

Special thanks to the 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review and author Bronwyn Fryer.

Hailing from Amish Country - Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Karoline is a sophomore double majoring in French and English with a minor in International Relations. She is a member of the William Smith varsity rowing team and currently serves on an athletic leadership council.
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