What do great minds have in common? The ability to think without hindrance. Whether you’re designing new software, sifting through lines and lines of coding, or something basic as adding HTML tags in your e-mail, you’ll want to make sure that your brain is well-lubricated for all the coarse thinking you have ahead of you. Put simply, it all comes down to a good night’s rest.
The U.S. loses over $400 billion a year due to poor work performance and it’s safe to say that some of those billions were meant to go programmers like yourselves. Let’s be honest, computers are the future IF we haven’t already made it there already! Coding languages have become the backbone of both our economy and day-to-day operations. If you are operating on a couple hours of sleep per night, then you’re not fulfilling your potential as a programmer, nor are you benefiting the person(s) or company that you’re coding for.
The most basic rule to remember is this: the less hours in bed equals more errors in red.
If you get your average six hours of sleep a night, you will find that it dramatically improves both your short and long-term memory. It will make remembering all those courses you took, or books you’ve read that much easier while also keeping track of your current work and how to implement more elements in your coding that you thought you’ve forgotten long ago. So, if you’re the type of person to wake up in the middle of the night or have trouble sleeping, chances are that little bits of information are slipping through the cracks without you even knowing!
Computer programming demands high activity from two parts of the brain. The inferior frontal gyrus which controls basic knowledge combined with innovative thinking (understanding languages, attention span, memory utilization) and the parietal lobe (mathematical and analytical skill). Studies have shown that just after a single night of sleep deprivation that both behavioral and cognitive functions were significantly lower than that of a person who has had a full night’s rest of good old fashioned sleep. Which goes to show that when you don’t sleep well, your brain will literally receive signals that ‘do not compute!’
So, how can you achieve optimal coding results? Start with eliminating caffeine and energy drinks, even if they may be helpful during long nights of coding, these stimulants are actually harmful to the brain’s process. If you’re a smoker, make sure to get all your puffs in hours before going to bed. Same thing goes for you greasy food and snack lovers, do it well before you lay down to rest. And most importantly, be comfortable in bed! Fluff your pillow, cover your feet, and eliminate pressure on the body by either buying a new mattress or simply finding ways to make the one you have now less lumpy; a quality mattress topper is the best option.
The best programmers are excellent problem solvers, so if you’re dedicated to the code, you will find a way to feed your brain those well-deserved Z’s at night. With all that being said, here’s one more fun anecdote for you to remember: you don’t want to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and have white noise in your head. Get some (comfortable and sound!) sleep and get out there and show the world what you’re made of…or rather, the code that you make.