Wandering why you are failing to accomplish all that you have planned for a day? Thinking about how to make the day longer? Wanting to cut off the time you spend sleeping? Wrong! Here is how seeping more can boost your productivity.
According to the CDC one in three adults is sleep deprived. In some ways, we recognize the dangers of being sleep deprivation. There’s more awareness than ever about the dangers of ‘drowsy driving’, for example. We also know that lack of sleep can have serious health consequences.
On the other hand, when it comes to work and school perspectives are quite different. The worker who comes in early stays late, and replaces sleep with caffeine is viewed as a motivated go-getter. Same with the student who juggles all-nighters with campus activities and a full course load. It’s a shame, because over time people who get enough sleep are better able to remain productive and accurate.
It’s been shown that most people need at least seven hours of sleep each day. Unfortunately, a survey showed that most only get about 6.5 hours each night. That difference might seem trivial, but those who weren’t getting enough sleep did report that it impacted their performance at work.
Another study showed that workers lose more than 11 days of productivity each year due to inability to sleep. This was marked by both absenteeism and the lesser known presenteeism that refers to being out work but unable to function well.
1. Sleep Deprivation And Your Mental Health
Over time, losing sleep can have a damaging impact on your mental and emotional health. It can cause the same symptoms as anxiety and depression. You may find yourself easily upset, confused, or angry. That can impact your ability to relate well to your customers and coworkers.
Your irritability and inability to deal with stressful situations will be reflected in your interpersonal relationships. There’s no way that you can do your job effectively if your emotional coping skills are being compromised.
2. Lack of Productivity And Your Career
Obviously, when workers aren’t working at their best, companies lose money. However, it can be the worker who suffers most of all. Your lack of sleep can cause you to make more than the acceptable number of errors. You might also miss deadlines and fail to fulfill benchmarks and quotas. Neither of these things are going to put you in a good light with your managers or coworkers. Remember, the person who comes in early and stays late is only going to be admired as long as they get things done quickly and correctly.
Even more importantly, safety can be an issue. Drowsy workers don’t have good reflexes and they don’t always make good decisions in the moment. Depending on the job, that can be dangerous for you and your coworkers. If your customers rely on you to produce items that are safe and accurate, that’s an issue as well. One workplace accident or other costly mistake can truly damage your career trajectory.
Clearly sleep deprivation isn’t good for workers, employers, or customers. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get enough sleep. Let’s take a look at the causes of lack of sleep and strategies to get those seven hours in while still getting everything you need done taken care of.
3. First: What is Good Sleep
Yes, it appears that the optimum hours of sleep are between seven and eight hours. Let’s be honest though, not all sleep is equal. If you aren’t getting into a deep enough sleep or if you’re waking frequently your sleep isn’t going to feel restful or restorative.
If that’s happening to you, it might be a good idea to get a check up. You could be dealing with an issue like sleep apnea or acid reflux that is disrupting your sleep. You might also need a sleep aid that will help you to get into a deeper sleep. If there isn’t a medical cause, and you know you aren’t getting enough hours of sleep, try the following tips.
4. Block Your Clock And Cell Phone
Before you go to sleep, obscure your clock and cell phone screens. The light can be disruptive, and if you wake up you won’t be tempted to check your screens and worry about how much sleep you are or aren’t getting. Then, turn off those pesky notification noises.
5. Don’t Use a Nightcap For Sleeping
There’s no doubt that alcohol makes you sleepy. Unfortunately, once you fall asleep things don’t go so well. People who drink tend to wake up frequently throughout the night. Besides, nobody feels all that alert with a hangover anyway.
6. Block Out Intrusive Noises
Dripping faucets, the upstairs neighbors, the living room television are just a few examples of noise that can intrude on your sleep. They may not even seem that bothersome. Still, they can keep that ideal, restful sleep at bay. Shut down what you can. If you cannot produce the quiet you need, try a white noise app.
7. Relax Your Mind
Nothing’s worse than a brain that won’t let you sleep, or dealing with stress just before bedtime. Avoid arguments and heady discussions before you try to go to sleep. That includes the ones that happen online. If your mind wants to recap every moment big and small when you hit the sack, get a notebook. Write everything down that comes into your mind. Whether it’s heady stuff or random, get it down on paper. That includes the fact that you need help with college assignments, rehashing a petty argument, or reminding yourself that the dog has to go to the vet on Thursday. That way, you’ll spend less time mulling things over when it’s time to sleep.
8. Avoid Napping
Napping throws off your sleep schedule and prevents you from getting restful sleep at night. Skip the nap and take a walk or get a cold drink instead. Playing a game or talking to a friend can help as well. If you must nap, do it before noon and make it 20 minutes or less.
9. Double Check Your Mattress And Pillow
If your mattress is worn out or ridden with dust mites and other allergens, you won’t get good sleep. You won’t sleep well if your pillow is the wrong size and causes you neck strain either. Good sleep is important to your health and comfort. A decent mattress, pillow, and linens is an investment. Get the best that you can, and replace things as needed.
10. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
You can’t make up lost sleep. That means staying up all night to work or play, then sleeping in doesn’t mean you aren’t sleep deprived. The same thing applies if you sacrifice sleep during the work week and then try to make it up on the weekends. Instead, get up and go to sleep at the same time each day and night. Eventually, your body will fall into a rhythm and you’ll be able to get the sleep that you need.
11. Let Your Digestive System Get Some Rest
It’s not going to be easy to get decent sleep if you’re system is processing a meatball sandwich or a pint of triple fudge deluxe. This doesn’t mean you have to go to bed hungry. Instead, pick light snacks before you go to sleep. Cheese and crackers, some fruit, or some popcorn are good choices. If you crave something a bit more significant go with a turkey sandwich on wheat bread or something similar, but eat about an hour earlier than you normally would.
12. Lower Your Lighting to Boost Melatonin Production
When it gets dark, your body produces a hormone, melatonin, that helps you to fall asleep. This hormone is released slowly though. Because of this, if you wait until just before you close your eyes to turn off your lights, you could wait quite a while before you fall asleep.
Instead, start dimming your lights before you’re ready for bed. For example, shut off overhead lights and use low wattage desk lamps or pendulum lights. If you have dimmer switches, take advantage of these as well. This will boost your melatonin production over the last hour or so before bedtime.
Conclusion: Know When You Are at Your Limit And Say So
Ultimately, it’s up to you to know your limits. You know when you are too tired and sleep-deprived to be an effective, safe worker. It can be difficult to say no to new assignments or offers of overtime. However, if your boss is reasonable, they want you at your best, not doing work that has to be fixed.
If you are the boss, this is a great area to set a good example. Show leadership by recognizing your own limits and modeling healthy work habits. Then, be vigilant about the wellbeing of your team. Know who is putting in long hours and is under stress. Prioritize giving them a break, and don’t malign those who know when they need rein in those long hours.
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