Why Sleep Matters
We are all guilty of burning the midnight oil, but doing so may be causing more harm than good. Below we detail what you can do for better sleep and how it will increase your productivity.
We all know that getting enough sleep every night is important to our overall bodily well-being, but it can also affect how you perform at work. Often we feel like the best course to pursue in order to get everything done we need to get done is to forgo bedtime and burn the midnight oil. However, when we do that it causes more problems than it solves including making us more susceptible to illness, less productive the following day(s), out of focus, and emotionally unstable.
The University of Chicago did a study where they broke down how a lack of sleep affects your health, leading to increased illness and weight gain. These issues lead to more missed days of work by upping your odds of getting a fever or cold that could force you to take time off. More time missed due illness means more time you must spend catching up which is a killer for your work productivity.
Speaking of productivity, even if you are not missing time due to work absences, your day to day efforts can still suffer a great deal if you are not getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation found that on average 4.5 hours are spent doing work at home every week to catch up on workload from slow productivity. Sadly, this can cause a domino effect where you continue not getting enough sleep because you are catching up on work at home and then struggling to find a groove the next day repeating the cycle.
Along the same vein, you may also start noticing that you are having trouble focusing if you are not catching enough zzz’s at night. Those simple tasks that you could breeze through when you were fully energized suddenly become much harder to complete because you are easily distracted. You also may start finding yourself stressing about work more which also can further hurt your ability to concentrate.
Added stress from a lack of sleep can often lead to emotional instability and be a detriment to your workplace (and home) relationships. Not getting enough sleep can not only affect your emotions individually, but also collectively as a work group with negative attitudes and poor self-regulation getting out of hand. This not only makes it difficult to operate fully as a company, but also lends itself to lost revenue due to poor performance.
Do not fret though, there are small steps you can take to help improve your sleep and keep yourself in tip-top working condition.
The first and most important thing you can do is make sure your environment is conducive to a good night’s rest. Making sure your bedroom is a relaxing haven can be as simple as making sure you have soothing colors present, buying a mattress that meets your comfort needs, blackout curtains to keep the environment dark and having the temperature set at a comfortable level. As you go about making improvements to your space it is good to note that sleep is a very personal thing and so what may be relaxing or comfortable to someone else may not work for you and that is ok. Do what will get you the best results.
Next, make sure you are aware of your habits during the day—specifically during the afternoon/evening hours. What you do earlier in the day may not seem like it would impact your sleep, but it can if you are not mindful of a few things. First, make sure you find some time to spend outside in natural light. This helps regulate your melatonin levels which prepares you for sleep. Also, keep an eye out for when you decide to crack those caffeinated drinks. If you are getting a jolt much after 2pm you could be affecting your sleep later that night. Alcohol is another beverage to be aware of how much you are consuming before bed. One or two drinks will not affect you, but binge drinking can reduce your sleep to restless tossing. Another habit to watch is checking your phone before bed. The blue light your phone or tv emits can affect your melatonin levels necessary for sleep. You also run the risk of tricking your mind into processing new information by reading emails, or news stories before bed that will keep you up thinking all night.