Who needs sleep?
You do. The modern world is a competitive and deadline driven place.
Day after day, we rise to the demands of work, home, and countless other responsibilities. Over time, the weight of these various demands can cut into one of our most essential requirements: sleep.
The severe negative health effects of sleep deprivation are well documented. However, there is a more subtle way in which lack of sleep can make our lives more difficult. It can drastically decrease productivity.
Productivity is an overused buzzword in American culture. We’re expected to perform at a high-functioning level from the moment we enter the workforce until retirement.
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The fear of losing one’s job typically outweighs the fear of having deteriorating health. This constant on-the-go mentality can manifest itself in unhealthy ways. One of the more devastating (and unsung) manifestations is in the form sleep deprivation. Up to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders every year. These issues can lead to underperformance.
The good news is that our bodies and minds are absolutely capable of withstanding this type of high-functioning lifestyle. We just need to take care of ourselves at the end of each day.
How poor sleep decreases productivity
Lack of sleep has a snowballing effect that, over time, can wreak havoc on your ability to consistently produce results in all facets of life. Here is a list of some of the ways sleep deprivation will derail your ability to be productive:
- Weakened immune system
- Loss of energy
- Slower reaction time
- Frequent mood swings
- Decreased problem solving abilities
- Loss of focus
- Impaired judgement
- Reduced creativity
- Memory loss
Basically, being sleep deprived can have a similar effect as being impaired by alcohol. If you were to show up to work drunk you would be fired on the spot; yet, we champion those that “burn the midnight oil” for the sake of work, family, or other obligations.
By consistently running a sleep deficit, you sabotage your ability to “show up” with the presence and focus that are necessary in order to perform your best.
Increasing productivity while you sleep
Sleep, along with food and water, is one of the three pillars of health. Our bodies rebuild and perform maintenance while at rest, so it is essential to give ourselves ample time for recovery.
There are several recommended ways of going about getting more quality sleep. First and foremost, you have to mind the other two pillars. Maintaining proper hydration and eating healthy foods (not too close to bedtime) is a great start.
Other tips include: establishing a nighttime ritual that sets the proper expectation for sleep; falling asleep and waking up at consistent times; and exercising earlier in the day. In addition, it’s important to create an environment that is conducive to sleeping.
Blackout curtains and white noise sleep sounds can go a long way in minimizing distractions. Lastly, acquire a high quality mattress (and bedding) that allows you to balance comfort and support. Your body will thank you.
If you’ve tried everything and you’re still unable to sleep, you may need to enlist the help of a qualified medical professional for further guidance.
By implementing healthier sleep habits you will better equip yourself to juggle life’s many responsibilities. You’ll have more energy, clarity, and a heightened ability to maintain a positive attitude throughout the day. This is necessary if you expect to maximize your productivity for years to come. When it comes to sleep, both quality and quantity matter.