It’s all too common for programmers to find themselves up late at night. They also tend to work continuously, rarely taking a break away from their work. While a passion for what we do, either professionally or as a hobby, is important, it’s also important that we don’t let that passion interfere with our health.
Studies have shown, again and again, that a good night’s sleep is important for both physical and mental health. But if you’re a programmer you probably find yourself awake at odd hours, hacking away on your favourite projects. But this probably has far more negative implications than you realize.
The Power of Taking a Break
Our subconscious minds are far more powerful than we tend to realize. The subconscious impacts just about everything we do, and it’s at work even without us being aware of it. When you take breaks from your work your mind is still piecing together solutions, and many find that they return to their projects with a new level of clarity, making it easier to complete them.
While being passionate about your projects will certainly help you tackle them with veracity, it’s important that you step away from them from time to time. It will increase productivity significantly.
The Power of “Sleeping On It”
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “Let me sleep on it,” before. While the validity of the concept is somewhat questionable, it’s clear that getting a good night’s sleep can help us solve our problems. When we sleep our brains are still at work, sorting out our memories from the day, and working on the problems we face.
As a programmer, it may be far more effective to get a good night of rest than it is to stay up late trying to finish a piece of code. There are countless tales of individuals having a certain dream that seems entirely unrelated to what they’re working on, only to awake with the perfect solution in their grasp.
Getting the Best Night’s Sleep Possible
So, what can you do to fully harness the power of your subconscious mind when it comes to solving your programming problems? Follow these three tips and it will be easier than you could have imagined.
First, make sure you avoid the computer screen and television at least an hour before bed. The light emitted by these screens is similar to that coming from the sun, and that prevents our bodies from producing melatonin, which is essential to falling asleep.
Next, be sure you have a good mattress. If you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night you may need to look into getting a new mattress. The best memory foam mattresses have been shown to increase comfort while sleeping and can help significantly.
Finally, read something completely unrelated to your coding projects. Science fiction, fantasy, or even mystery novels are all good choices. They’ll help you get your mind off of your projects, relax, and get to sleep more easily. All of these things, combined, will help you put the power of a good night’s sleep on your side, making your coding sessions far more productive.