Your Growth, Your Performance, Your Succes​s


Reasons why saying yes is the best for your career

June 7, 2022

Richard Branson once famously said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity to do something and you're not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.”


There is wisdom in his advice. Plus, it comes from Branson – a disruptive, successful, and visionary billionaire. But for mere mortals like most of us, his words may sound a tad insane. How can one possibly say yes to everything?


The premise here isn't about being the proverbial “yes person” or negating your needs. In this context, saying yes means having the conviction and courage to pursue goals we know we really want to.


Too often, we fear failure and rejection. We automatically expect the worst. Saying no becomes an impulse, and we end up rejecting several possibilities. Many brilliant chances come disguised as innocuous things - not as grand events announcing their arrival. It could be a chance to step up at work or an unfamiliar challenge. Opportunities can come knocking in unexpected ways.


How can you tell the difference? If it’s something that sparks an excitement hitherto lying dormant, you need to pay attention. That spark is your intuition, telling you to say yes or, at the very least, to ask more questions.


Saying yes to new opportunities can be tough - especially when they push you far outside your comfort zone. However, agreeing to or strongly considering each opportunity is imperative to going places.


Former CEO of Walgreens, Greg Wasson, concurs with the concept of saying yes. He once told the press that he became a top executive at Walgreens by taking on every role that the company presented.


When Wasson had to run Walgreen’s health services in Las Vegas, he didn’t know what to expect. He mulled over the decision quite a bit but eventually took it as an opportunity to learn. It turned out to be the one decision that accelerated his career.


Whenever a new opportunity comes by, ask yourself three questions. What is its possible impact on your quality of life? What can it do for me? Is the timing conducive? Not perfect, but conducive. There’s no such thing as perfect timing.


Anytime people can broaden horizons at work or outside, it is always beneficial. The idea is to consider every opportunity before instinctively saying no. You never know what may change your life.


Award-winning producer and writer Shonda Rhimes’ story is a testament to this. She spent a year saying yes to everything – from trivial things to others that frightened her as a self-described introvert. It’s a decision she credits with transforming her life.


Brilliant opportunities can pass you by if you wait to feel ready to pursue them. By saying yes, you operate from a mindset of curiosity and growth, not negativity. In addition, saying yes can organically open up spaces for dialogue. It creates possibilities to collaborate, partner, and build great things with others. Most importantly, saying yes brings you infinite sources of joy. A life more fun and rewarding in the long run.

How Good Physical Health Supports Good Mental Health

September 8, 2021

We know that exercise is good for the body, and while the benefits of regular exercise on our overall physical health are widely known, not many realize how to reap its benefits to improve mental health.


The physical and mental health benefits of exercise

People who exercise regularly do it for several reasons. Some to improve physical health and physique; others to shed some extra pounds. Most people work out because of how good it makes them feel. The energy, motivation, or incredible positivity from exercising is unparalleled. As one of the most powerful tools to boost moods, exercise helps reduce depression, anxiety, ADHD, and stress.


Staying active during COVID-19

Social distancing and self-quarantining have restricted our ability to exercise in gyms and other group settings, but the importance of keeping physically active remains, now more than ever. Intense physical activity can be daunting to some. However, research shows how even modest exercise routines can positively impact a person’s well-being.


You do not need to be living in the gym or running a marathon to reap the benefits. During these challenging times, many people have turned to at-home workouts from the famous Peloton bikes and treadmills, to YouTube videos, to walk around the block. As a coping mechanism, exercising is one of the most effective methods for dealing with stress – particularly as each of us battles our respective personal and professional challenges.


Exercise to help depression

Research indicates that exercise effectively treats moderate depression with none of the side -effects of medication. It releases endorphins to energize spirits and activates parts of the brain responsible for feelings of calm and well-being. Even though the global health crisis is far from over, exercising can bring that elusive feel-good factor into our daily lives.


Exercise to alleviate stress and anxiety

If extended periods of staying at home make you anxious, nothing can compare to exercise for relieving stress and anxiety. Focusing on your body’s movements or regulating your breathing as you work out allows you to slow down. Being mindful of your body extends to your mind, helping to calm the flows of worry and anxiety you might be experiencing.


Exercise to help concentration

When working remotely, the risk of losing focus can be high, with so many distractions around. Exercising enhances memory and concentration. Physical activity boosts the brain’s serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels – all of which help our focus and attention. Exercise keeps you mentally sharp for the tasks at hand. It also stimulates the growth of new 


brain cells and prevents age-related decline.

Each day brings a new opportunity to try incorporate fitness into your daily routine. Not only does working out aid better sleep and boost energy levels, but it also has fantastic short and long-term health benefits.

What Do Countries with The Best Response to Covid All Have in common?

February 18, 2021

The novel coronavirus revealed the ability of world leaders to respond to an enormous health and economic crisis. It is clear as day that some have risen to the occasion while others falter.


Avivah Wittenberg-Cox — the CEO of 20-first, a global gender-balance consultancy based in the UK – conducted a study of 194 countries and their responses to the pandemic. Countries with the most effective initial responses had one thing in common – they are all led by women leaders. Even as the world imploded, women leaders took charge and demonstrated lessons on decisiveness, transparency, and empathy.


An analysis of data reveals that mortality rates and infection spread were, on average, lower in countries with women leaders. A deeper evaluation suggests several possible reasons why – one of the most compelling factors was the decision to go into lockdown much earlier.


What’s more, women leaders demonstrated remarkably different leadership styles compared to their male counterparts. Wittenberg-Cox narrowed down a few takeaways from her comparative study of women-led countries during the pandemic.


Empathetic Communication

Instead of instilling fear or panic, most women leaders operated from a space of empathy. Inclusive communication was at the core of successful responses to COVID-19. Women leaders allayed fears by including everyone in the conversation, regardless of whether they form a part of the voting population. For instance, Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, held Coronavirus instructional events for children to help them deal with the crisis.


Authenticity

Forgoing official trappings in favor of authenticity were an outlier in successful leadership during the pandemic. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hosted Facebook Lives to ‘check-in with everyone.’ Her chats were stripped-down and informal, allowing citizens a peek into her realities as she juggled being a mother and the country’s leader. It reinforced the feeling that everyone – including Ardern herself – was in this together.


Truthfulness

Women leaders demonstrated what Wittenberg-Cox calls rational optimism. Great leaders manage uncertainty to their followers by “showing what they know, what they don’t know, and sharing the optimism that you’ll all get through something together.”


One of the prime examples of this was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As Germany reeled from the coronavirus, Merkel relied on facts and expert advice to guide her lockdown efforts. Never one to mince words, she stayed true to her stance even during the pandemic. “There are indications that things will become more difficult in coming months … It’s serious … Continue to take it seriously,” she stated.


Decisiveness

Decisiveness and prompt action distinguished most women leaders in their handling of the pandemic. Women leaders informed their decision-making with counsel from their advisors and various organizations to chart efficient strategies in tackling the virus.


Under President Tsai Ing-Wen, Taiwan’s response to the virus was incredibly commendable. Taking cues from lessons during the SARS outbreak, Taiwan had a government pandemic plan in place. While other countries were still coming to terms, Taiwan was already contact tracing, quarantining, and ensuring an abundance of masks. During the early days, Taiwan had one of the lowest coronavirus deaths globally despite its proximity to Wuhan, China.


Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also received praise for her prompt actions, including a strong stimulus package equivalent to over four percent of the country’s GDP. 


Technology

Embracing technology and its possibilities mitigated the threats associated with the pandemic. Iceland Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir started an intensive screening and tracking system that contributed to successfully battling the virus early on. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin launched a contract tracing app to minimize the virus spread. She also enlisted social media influencers to share reliable information on the disease and preventing its spread.


Convention dictates that leaders demonstrate aggression and outright dominance, traditionally male characteristics. Challenging times call for effective leadership, and it might be time we rethink what the term means. It took a global crisis, but women leaders of the world exemplify successful, non-traditional leadership approaches. 

Habits Everyone Needs to Adapt to Be Successful

November 12, 2020

Today's world is remarkably different from a decade ago, and it will likely be unrecognizable a generation later. While the seasons may change, the idea of success can weather times or trends – primarily since the definition of success is subjective and has no prescriptive path.


No matter how one chooses to define it, several fundamental habits can support building a rewarding life or career. A solid foundation can drive success and help people realize their ultimate potential.


Meaningful Mornings

Rise with the sun or a little after it. You do not need to go on a 10 km run but focus instead on things that bring you joy. Read the news, look after your plants, or make breakfast - it is always the little things. Waking up early also gives you extra time to plan the day. Precious time to prioritize work, anticipate challenges, or schedule a class you meant to try ages ago.


Articulate a Vision

The best person to determine what success means is you. Everyone has different ideas of what a successful, meaningful life is. Take the time to understand your definition of success. An excellent way to affirm this vision is by writing it down. List things that value, inspire, and motivate you.


Prioritize Health and Fitness

Keeping your body healthy is essential for the mental acumen required to succeed. Challenging the body gives added energy, providing the brain the clarity it needs to navigate work or personal challenges.


Planning and Discipline

Define a timeline and list the general requirements of the goals you seek. Establish long-term goals as well as short-term milestones. These exercises can help you determine where you are currently, along with things you might need to achieve your goals.


Engagement and Relationship Building

Working towards success is exhilarating but can be fraught with self-doubt. When in doubt, look for inspiration from people in the same field. Read up and seek out people who share similar values and goals. Engaging with multiple people offers a fresh perspective and creates an ecosystem that supports growth.


Learn from Experience

Remember that goal posts can shift in the course of your life. Things do not always go according to plan, but changing course is part of the process. Consider it an opportunity to re-assess and grow, not a sign of failure.


Continual Learning

Investing in self-learning can be challenging when life overwhelms. However, the long-term returns of self-improvement are significant. Continual learning is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Take a course, read for pleasure or education – regardless of what you choose, developing these habits goes a long way.


Unplug

For general wellness, prioritize regular time away from work and electronic devices. Unplug completely and dedicate that time to people and things you love. Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial for sanity and productivity in the long run.


While there is no one path to success, it is the little everyday habits that add up towards achieving success. Define what your personal goals are and do everything in your power to make things happen.


Written by our Senior Recruiter, Andrew Clarke

What We Haven’t Learned from The 1918 Pandemic

August 4, 2020

Since the onset of COVID-19, the world has turned to lessons from historical experience with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Interventions today like physical distancing and closures of public spaces are guided by similar efforts to stop the spread of the flu in 1918-19. Instead of learning lessons from the world’s greatest pandemic over a hundred years ago, history seems to be repeating itself in several other ways.


Like the 1918 virus, COVID-19 is 'novel' in that it is a highly infectious virus previously unseen. The 1918 virus (Influenza A Subtype H1N1) and the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) come from different viral families. What they have in common are transmission methods. These are primarily through respiratory droplets and surfaces they land on. Additionally, respiratory failures reported from COVID-19 patients are haunting echoes of H1N1 patients during the Spanish flu.


An Interconnected World

The origins of the deadly strain of the H1N1 virus remain a matter of debate, but evidence indicates that troop mobilization during World War 1 drove virus transmission. Soldiers left their homes in small towns or cities and traveled the world, passing through several ports, transit hubs, and came in contact with civilians. The first wave of the Spanish flu took place in the early summer of 1918 coinciding with these movements. Both viruses are undoubtedly products of their time - both driven by an increasingly connected world.


Phases of the Virus

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 1918 pandemic lasted for two years: the first wave in March 1918 and the second wave – marking the most devastating phase – occurred in the fall of the same year. In January 1919, a third wave started in Australia, working its way to Europe and the US, finally subsiding in the summer.


The virus never disappeared entirely, but by 1920, it appeared people had developed herd immunity. The ebb and flow of the 1918 virus share commonalities with what the world is experiencing today.


Social Distancing and Mask Wearing

Much like today, resistance to mask-wearing and social distancing was prevalent in 1918. Health regulations mandated the wearing of masks to slow the spread of disease. Many people resisted, citing restrictions to their personal and civil liberties. Back then, people wore masks made of gauze and cheesecloth. Those who refused to wear masks faced fines or even imprisonment in cities that mandated them.


Social Mitigation Efforts

Even during the 1918 pandemic, it was clear that social mitigation efforts could drastically slow down the virus – the flu vaccines made an appearance only in the 1940s. Until then, health officials emphasized the need for mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing to curb the spread. Places that implemented these guidelines - along with closures of public businesses, schools, and public spaces - saw fewer deaths, similar to what is happening today.


Reporting and Misinformation

Since the early days, conspiracy theories on the origins and spread of COVID-19 have been rife. The 1918 pandemic had its version of sensational reporting or fake news. From blaming German U-boats and jazz music to targeting immigrants and Jews - trends that are disturbingly similar to what is happening today. A century apart and two pandemics later, not much has changed. The spread of misinformation and resistance to health guidelines remain. Amid a global health crisis, rationality takes a back seat as extreme behavior and theories prevail.


Medicine and science have made remarkable strides since 1918, but the world is yet to learn other lessons. Numerous lives were lost, and economies decimated before countries took the threat of the virus seriously. Most places now have vaccines for COVID-19 yet also face new virus variants, potentially more infectious.


Complacency in the wake of vaccines only adds to a crisis we do not have full knowledge of yet. The fundamental differences in the COVID-19 strain do not offer predictability or exact parallels to the influenza waves of 1918-19. Until then, the world needs to rely on social mitigation measures to contain the virus spread.

The Basics of Working from Home

April 17, 2020

As more people give up long commutes and traffic for working from home, staying productive outside the office can be a challenge. From occasional telecommuters and full-time remote employees to freelancers, everyone has grappled with the idea of workspaces within the home.


While each individual’s needs and contexts vary, a few simple steps can significantly elevate the work from home experience for everyone. Here are a few remote working basics that can set anyone up for success.


Maintain a Regular Schedule

It helps to begin your day like you typically would in an office. Wake up on time, have breakfast, get dressed, and show up to work – even if work is the coffee table in the kitchen. 


Maintaining a daily schedule helps you stay motivated and provides structure. Take some time to evaluate and determine the best rhythm for your day or week. Once that is done, set realistic goals and timelines each day.


Create an Enjoyable Workspace

Find ways to turn a non-descript workspace into a place with plenty of mental stimulation. Studies show how color, light, and form influence calmness and productivity. Hang artwork, posters, or motivational quotes on your desk or wall. Experiment with colors wherever possible and change up light strength throughout the day. A vibrant environment is vital to keep motivation high and improves creativity and productivity.


Set Clear Boundaries

Take care to maintain boundaries to avoid feeling like you are always at work. One of the biggest challenges in remote working during the pandemic is the perceived loss of a sense of ‘home.’ It is essential to keep the two spaces separate by setting clear boundaries.

Communicate with colleagues about when you are reachable or unavailable. Similarly, let your family know you are off-limits during work hours. Maintaining a balance with everyone concerned allows you to switch from work to home mode and back again more effectively.


Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks helps rejuvenate the brain. Researchers at a social media company discovered that the best workers typically averaged 52 minutes of focused work and followed it up with a 17-minute break. The key is to indulge in activities that make you feel good – from stretching, walking, exercising, reading, to just lounging around and doing nothing.


Stay Connected

Make the extra effort to stay connected with colleagues, clients, and peers. Prolonged isolation can take a toll on even the most introverted person, so it is vital to stay engaged. Schedule informal meet-ups or chats with people now and then. Use social networking platforms to engage with organizations or causes that are special to you.


With a few shifts in behavior and rejigging physical spaces, navigating work from home will not seem like a daunting task. Acknowledge what you accomplish each day – completing a project, finishing laundry, cooking a meal – instead of stressing about all the things still left to do. Since staying motivated and focused can be difficult, remember to celebrate small wins regularly.


Written by Charlie Garner, a Researcher at Harper HR

5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better

November 28, 2019

If the days and hours during the COVID-19 pandemic seem to blend into one another, you are not alone. As lines blur between office, home, and recreation spaces, managing time (or lack thereof) is one of the most challenging aspects for everyone everywhere.


Time management can be difficult on regular days. Working remotely – with its endless new variables to negotiate - makes it that much tougher to accomplish. Here are our top five tips for time management to improve productivity while working from home.


1. Assess Your To-Do List 

Working from home is liberating in several ways. It also means being accountable for your work since nobody is around to ensure you get things done. Start your workday by evaluating what needs to get done. Make detailed checklists of tasks that need completing. Use a digital tool or calendar to set up reminders for daily, repeatable tasks. It helps to free up valuable brain space, allowing you to prioritize urgent tasks that require your attention and energy. Check these activities off your list first, and then move on to other, unimportant tasks.


For most people, early mornings are calmer and quieter times in the day. It is the ideal time to plan and assess how much you can realistically get done. Inculcating a work or personal routine first thing boosts energy and productivity for the day ahead.


2. Create a Schedule

Once you have the checklist figured, create a schedule for your day or week. Identify what tasks you would like to do at certain hours and block your schedule accordingly. Creating time blocks in a day keeps you focused as you efficiently move from one task to the next. Mix it up so you can factor in work, family, and personal time (including meals) into your schedule. A schedule need not be rigid but helps in setting business hours that work for you and your family.


3. Limit Distractions

Distractions are a reality of working from home. If you struggle with productivity while at home, identify and eliminate potential sources of distraction. Switching off social media notifications, Netflix, or message notifications on your phone is one of the most effective ways to enhance productivity.


4. Seek Support & Delegate

To avoid stress and burnout, avoid taking on more tasks than you are capable of completing. Most of us may hesitate to say ‘no’ due to the fear of being labeled incompetent or a shirker. However, seeking support is an integral part of time management.


Delegation, when done effectively, is a win-win for everyone. If you are a manager, learn how to delegate work to your team members based on their skills and interests. Delegating frees up your time while making your team feel involved and valued. Seek support from your team when things get overwhelming, and work together to meet goals.


5. Stress Management

Attempting to juggle work and home responsibilities can take a toll on anyone. When there are too few hours in a day for everything you need to do, staying self-motivated and focused can seem impossible.


Try and schedule short and fun activities in your day to avoid boredom or burnout. Take regular breaks for 10 to 15 minutes or schedule time for a nap, if needed. Take walks, listen to music or exercise. Switch off from work and spend time with loved ones or call up a friend.


Time management is a huge challenge when working at home,  but it does not have to be. While these five tips will provide a blueprint to manage your time, the key is to adapt them in a manner that works best for you. 

What Do All Languages Have in Common?

May 6, 2019

Language and how it came to be is a subject of intense study and research. How did language evolve? Why do some languages die out while others rise to prominence? There are an estimated 7000 languages globally, each one as complex and rich as the next. Despite a multitude of differences, the concept of universality across languages has always intrigued language enthusiasts.


With the sheer number of languages and dialects spoken the world over, uncovering the universals in each is a tall ask. Linguists and scientists have nonetheless made attempts and conceptualized various ideas of what these universals could be.


In the early 1950s, Noam Chomsky proposed the Universal Grammar theory to look at how familiar grammatical structures, even in unfamiliar languages, can indicate speakers to its meaning. The theory suggests that there are universal grammatical rules that apply to all languages. It also proposes that humans have the innate ability to process language basis these rules.


Chomsky’s theory would chart the course of linguistics for years to come. With time, most linguists would change their school of thought. Despite copious amounts of data, mapping the intrinsic structure of language proved immensely complex. Linguists could only scratch the surface in deciphering English itself, even after decades of study.


Perhaps one of the loopholes in the theory was its emphasis on using Euro-centric languages as a base. Since European languages evolved from a common ancestor, their grammars contained several overlapping elements.


As linguists gathered data on several world languages, clear and glaring inconsistencies in the Universal Grammar theory emerged. These unfamiliar languages had nothing in common with European languages. They appeared to defy every established notion of syntax and grammar. Chomsky’s position that there is a specific, innate language faculty in the brain was seemingly incorrect.


Universality is an elusive concept, even at the level of phenomes (sound). All languages should have small units of sound that combined, form syllables and words. But what of sign language that does not make use of any sound at all?

The Universal Grammar theory could not achieve what it set out to do, but it had unintended consequences. It re-evaluated established linguistic theories and prompted a further study of the human brain. Moreover, it sparked curiosity about different cultures in the attempt to discover what connects each of us.


Linguists today posit that despite numerous differences between languages, all human languages have some universal properties – some at the phonological levels while others at more complex levels such as morphology and syntax. All languages, for instance, contain consonants and vowels or have clear distinctions between nouns and verbs.


The universal truth - all languages have a specific way of forming words, turning words into sentences, and systems that assign meaning. It holds even for oral languages or those without any sound, like sign language. With increasing discoveries of new people and languages, there is no saying how these universals will evolve in the future.


Regardless of the context, we can rely on certain truths. Languages are fascinating endless variables that evolve, each with its grammar and sound systems. At their most fundamental, what languages have in common is a shared mental system that enables people to communicate and convey meaning.

The Difference Between Winning & Succeeding

December 11, 2018

John Robert Wooden, fondly called Coach, had a profound impact on everyone he met. Considered the greatest NCAA basketball head coach ever, Wooden led the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program to numerous wins with a 664-162 record. He was also named NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year six times.


With a career spanning 40 years, Wooden’s legacy in the sports world is unparalleled, but his most enduring legacy is that of a master teacher whose lessons extended to life overall, not just sports. At the core of his teachings lay a simple truth - succeeding is better than winning.


How It Started

Wooden coined his definition of success in 1934 when he was teaching at a high school in South Bend, Indiana. As an educator, he struggled with a system that boxed in student achievement to grades. It was, he felt, an inadequate measure of varying intelligence in each learner. He noticed similar patterns on the basketball court and how the world judged athletic teams or coaches. 'If you won them all, you were considered to be reasonably successful – not completely…But it seemed that we didn't win each individual game by the margin that some of our alumni had predicted…And quite frequently I really felt that they had backed up their predictions in a more materialistic manner.


Wooden wanted to conceptualize a path that could make him a better teacher while giving his students something higher to aspire to, other than grades or more points in an athletic contest.


And I knew how Mr. Webster defined it, as the accumulation of material possessions or the attainment of a position of power or prestige, or something of that sort, worthy accomplishments perhaps, but in my opinion, not necessarily indicative of success.' said Wooden during a TED talk. 


The Difference Between Succeeding and Winning

Wooden defined success as peace of mind that comes from knowing you put in the effort to do the best of which you are capable. He made distinctions between success and winning by likening the two to character and reputation. A person’s reputation is driven by perception, whereas character is who they really are.


Winning is a lot like reputation with its outward trappings. Success, on the other hand, is like character. It focuses on the journey and is much more important than reputation. Wooden strongly considered players who reached their full potential as his success.

Some of his other pearls of wisdom included:

  • Learn from others instead of trying to be better than them
  • Focus on things you can control. 
  • Achieving your ultimate potential which is in your control. 
  • Stressing out about factors not under your control undermines the best you can be
  • Always show up on time and close on time
  • Never use profanity
  • Never criticize a team-mate
  • Never whine or make excuses

The Pyramid of Success

Wooden went on to create the Pyramid of Success and wrote books to share his philosophy. The cornerstones of the Pyramid are industriousness, enthusiasm, working hard, and loving what you do.


Right at the top of the Pyramid are faith and patience. Long term changes come from patience and hard work. People must believe they will succeed and do everything possible to make it happen. Too often, the human tendency is to hope things will turn out the way we want them to without doing what is necessary to make dreams a reality.


Wooden was in good physical health until the later years of his life. On May 26, 2010, Wooden was admitted to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after suffering dehydration. He died of natural causes at age 99 on June 4, 2010. In a world that values external signs of achievement and wins, Wooden’s outlook on coaching and life was a quietly radical departure that continues to impact everyone who met him.


Written by Chiara Cipriani, Recruiter at Harper HR

The Little-Known Benefits of Sleeping

August 16, 2018

Sleep is an extraordinary state of being that deserves more attention. Most of us already know the benefits but tend to place our focus elsewhere in the humdrum of everyday life. 


It is a beautifully complex biological function that helps repair damage and renew cells. During sleep, the body flushes out toxins and waste, balances hormones, and so much more. Beyond the physical health benefits, sleep supports several aspects of brain functions, facilitating mental health and long-term wellness.


While most of us are aware of these core benefits, recent scientific studies provide further insights to demonstrate how valuable sleep is.


Sleep Helps Solidify Learning

Sleep has significant benefits for the brain. When a body is resting, the brain can solidify previously gained information and transform it into learning. In essence, a person is learning even when taking a snooze.


Sleep and Memory Formation

Insightful research indicates that the amount of sleep impacts how the brain consolidates learning into memory. Resting helps recharge brain activities and forms new activity on dendritic branches that are responsible for learning. The study provides evidence on the connection between sleep and memory.


Sleep and Better Mental Health

Poor sleep quality can have adverse effects on mental health, particularly depression. Studies show that people who sleep less than 6 hours per night have a higher genetic risk for symptoms of depression. According to estimates, 90 percent of people with depression complain about sleep quality. A well-rested body significantly improves overall well-being and feelings of happiness.


Sleep Enhances Recall and Productivity

Sufficient rest enhances information recall and improves focus. A survey in Belgium demonstrated how university students who slept at least 7 hours achieved 10 percent higher grades than those who did not. Similarly, a study on medical interns shows that those on a work schedule of more than 24 hours committed 36 percent more critical medical errors. While most of us may have left our test-taking or internship days behind, studies like these reinforce the connection between adequate sleep and recall, especially at work.


Sleep and Immunity

Well-rested people have better immunity against illnesses like flu and colds. Getting enough sleep reduces body inflammation and protects your body from a host of other anomalies. 


A study of Finnish workers found conclusive data that well rested people take fewer sick days compared to their sleep-deprived counterparts. Interestingly, their research showed that sleeping under 6 hours or over 9 hours could lead people to take more sickness-related absences from work.


Sleep and Weight Loss

People attempting to lose weight should not only alter their diet and exercise regimen but their sleep patterns. As rest plays a critical role in boosting metabolism, weight gain and irregular sleep patterns have strong links. Additionally, sleep deprived people tend to consume higher-fat foods and pile on calories. The longer the hours, the more time there is to eat.


Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interaction

Irregular sleep patterns also affect people’s ability to make social and emotional connections. Several facial recognition tests found that sleep-deprived people had a reduced ability to process expressions of joy or anger, which reduces their ability to interact socially. Sleep helps us understand important social cues and getting a read on people’s emotions. 


Tips for Better Sleep

If you are looking to prioritize sleeping better, there is no time like the present to start. Here are some ways to get the recommended sleep duration of 6-9 hours.

  • Seek bright or natural sunlight during the day to keep your circadian rhythm (body clock) healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as night-time sleep quality
  • Avoid caffeine in the later hours of the day. Try decaffeinated coffee if you cannot do without it
  • Try and maintain a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Reduce alcohol consumption at night. Drinking before bedtime can negatively affect sleep and hormones
  • Optimize your sleep environment by minimizing noise and light. Limit blue light exposure at night. Smartphones and computers emit large amounts of blue light and can affect the quality and duration of sleep