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How Sleep Affects Your Work Day

In modern times, many of us are focusing on ways to achieve better performance during work and maximizing how much we can get done in a single day. While this is a productive mindset to have, you often don’t realize how damaging it can be if you neglect your health in favor of pushing your limits. One of the biggest issues we run into is sleep deprivation, which affects your performance more greatly than you’d think.
sleep productively

The saying “get a good night’s sleep” shouldn’t be taken lightly. Having a great sleep schedule and ensuring that your body gets at least 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep is extremely important. To get more productive, you need to sleep enough and supply your body with the energy it needs throughout the day.

How sleep affects your productivity
How sleep affects your productivity

So, how exactly does sleep affect your productivity at work? What can you do better to enhance your sleep and perform better during the day? Let’s take a look together.

Lack of sleep

The first thing between you and productivity is insufficient sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep during the night, your performance during the day will suffer. While you can always drink coffee or energy drinks, it’s extremely unhealthy to consume large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis. Advised by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, healthy adults should try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Not getting enough sleep immediately starts affecting your day from the moment you wake up. You’ll feel slow and unmotivated to get up from bed, you can’t focus, you’ll find it hard to stay creative or make decisions. These are all caused by sleep deprivation.

It is common for managers [...] to look at a lack of focus or motivation, irritability, and bad decision making as being caused by poor training, organizational politics or the work environment. The answer could be much simpler – a lack of sleep.” — The Wake-up Call: The importance of sleep in organizational life

Inconsistent sleep

Countless public studies and researchers have proven that the regularity of sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep you get. To maximize your productivity and ensure your health is in check, you must get consistent amounts of sleep every day.

In 2017, a study has proven that sleep patterns matter more than you’d think. Following a group of college students, researchers observed sleep patterns. The group who followed a regular sleep schedule performed better, while individuals with a sporadic schedule suffered the consequences of inconsistent sleep.

Despite getting roughly the same amount of sleep each night, students who woke up and went to sleep at different times had lower GPAs and delayed circadian rhythms. This proves that having a consistent schedule will boost your productivity more.

It’s easy to see how the findings of this study translate to work-life and your productivity while performing your job. Just like lack of sleep, your focus, alertness, and creativity are greatly impacted by your sleep pattern.
Sleep deprivation can affect your physical health

Sleep deprivation on your physical health

Your productivity isn’t the only thing sleep affects. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that insufficient and inconsistent sleep has serious physical symptoms as well. Most people who sleep ineffectively tend to experience heartburns, numb arms and legs, headaches, and more.

Long-term sleep deprivation also increases the risk for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Combine this with increased caffeine consumption and the potential mental side-effects such as depression and anxiety, and you got a disaster on your hands.

We’ve compiled some tips and tricks on how you can regain control over your schedule below. However, if you’re aware that your current sleep schedule opposes danger to your physical and mental health, consider reaching out to a professional.

The potentially dangerous consequences of sleep deprivation

Tiredness can lead to potentially grave consequences. On a day to day basis, hundreds of accidents happen because of sleep deprivation. This is a result of sleep taking a toll on your cognitive abilities, including perception, alertness, and reaction time.

Sleep-deprived individuals need to exercise caution in absolutely everything that they do, and simply can't trust that they won't make costly errors. Oftentimes - like when behind the wheel of a car - these errors can have tragic consequences.” — Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

This also translates to errors while you’re working. Getting things done while deprived of sleep is a hard task in itself, making sure that your work is high quality is nearly impossible. Many workers end up making costly mistakes while under the effects of sleep deprivation, which affects them and their organizations in a negative way.

How to get better sleep to increase your productivity

Here's how to get better sleep to increase your productivity:

Find your best sleep schedule
Alarm Clock

Each one of our lives is different, meaning that no two schedules will be the same. As mentioned above, having consistent and enough sleep is the two important things you need to focus on.

Create a schedule that works for you. Build your schedule depending on how long you take in the morning to get ready, what you like to do before heading to bed, and everything in-between. It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t sacrifice things you like to do or want to do for sleep.

For example, you should always fit some time into your morning routine to eat a nice, healthy breakfast. If you need to make time for this, simply go to bed earlier.

Transform your bedroom
transform your bedroom

So, you’ve made your schedule and you’re sticking to it, but you still don’t feel on top of things. This could be a result of low-quality sleep.

Something many people neglect is ensuring that the bedroom is a suitable environment for sleep. Having noisy and distracting things in the same room as your bed such as a television, your mobile phone, or a pet can disrupt your sleep or even keep you up at night. Removing these things from your sleep environment will cause your brain to associate your bed with nothing but a nice, energizing sleep.

Always make sure that your bed is comfortable and clean. A good-quality mattress is worth the investment, as well as weighted blankets. If needed, buy a comfortable eye-mask to completely shut out any light. Professionals also suggest keeping your bedroom cool and dark. The ideal temperature for good quality sleep is around 16-18°C (60-65°F).

Watch what you eat and drink
Watch your diet

Always keep track of what you consume as your day progresses. Having a healthy diet will not only help your body but your mind as well. Besides eating healthy and avoiding junk food, soda, excessive sugar, alcohol, and other unhealthy foods, you should focus on the time you eat as well.

The last time you should drink something that contains caffeine should be no less than 6 hours prior to your bedtime. This ensures that the effects of caffeine already fade by the time you get into bed, allowing you to fall asleep easier.

Final thoughts

To end this article, we’d like to remind you about something important. If necessary, consult with a professional to get help on creating a healthy sleep schedule. Many people suffer from conditions such as insomnia, which require professional help and oftentimes medication.

We wish you a good, healthy night’s sleep and a productive day tomorrow. Please return to us for more fun and informative articles all related to productivity and modern-day technology! Consider subscribing to our newsletter for regular tutorials, news articles, and guides to help you in your day-to-day tech life.

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