Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Samantha Kent, CA.
Sleep isn’t for the weak — it’s for everyone. We all need sleep to live well, and that includes work. Sleeping well is necessary for energy, concentration, and performance, and when you don’t get enough sleep, your career can suffer.
Sleep is a Problem For Many
Many people lead busy lives these days. It’s common for people to mention how little sleep they got the night before — maybe with a sense of bragging. But when you skip out on sleep, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
A lack of sleep is a common problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of American adults regularly don’t get enough sleep. That means more than 30% of adults are sleeping less than seven hours each night on a regular basis.
Insufficient sleep is a problem in many ways. When you sleep for less than seven hours per day on a regular basis, you’re at an increased risk of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and mental distress. And that’s just in the long term.
In the short term, after a night of poor sleep, you’re at a greater risk for getting sick, you may have cognitive issues that make it difficult to complete tasks, and brain functions including memory, decision making, and problem-solving are weakened. It’s easier to forget to-dos and important information, too, and you’re more likely to get into an accident.
What Short Sleep Does To Work
Think you’re doing yourself a favor by staying up late and putting the finishing touches on an important project the night before a big meeting? You’re not. Just like pulling an all nighter in college the night before a big test, you’re only crippling your cognitive ability for the next day when you stay up late and don’t get enough sleep.
Many issues that come with a night of short sleep can have an effect on your work. It could be difficult if not impossible to get through a successful day at work when your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, you’ve forgotten important things you were supposed to do, and you can’t make decisions or solve problems. You’re more likely to make mistakes, and you could even get hurt on the job, since you’re more accident-prone when you don’t get enough sleep. And if you get sick, you might have to miss work altogether.
How To Preserve Sleep And Your Career
Work and general life can easily get in the way of sleep. But sleep is important for not just your health, but your work performance, too. Take these steps to get the sleep you need to perform at your best.
Schedule life around sleep. Know what time you need to get up in the morning, then count backwards from there, giving yourself at least seven to nine hours to sleep each night. Make sleep a priority so you’re better able to give your best at work and throughout your daily life.
Practice healthy sleep habits. Consistent sleep is key. When you follow a regular sleep schedule, you go to bed and wake up around the same time each night and day, offering your brain and body predictability that can help you fall asleep on time each night.
Make your bedroom a healthy sleep environment. It’s easier to sleep in a place that is designed for healthy sleep. That means your bedroom should be quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable, with an appropriate mattress and sheets that help you sleep.
Avoid sleep pitfalls. You may be sabotaging your sleep in subtle ways. For example, staying up late using your phone or laptop can confuse your circadian rhythm, and even a late-night workout could leave you feeling too stimulated to fall asleep. Drinking coffee late in the day might be a problem, too.
Manage stress. Sometimes, anxious thoughts and worries, or just finally unloading the stress of the day can make it tough to get to sleep. Practice stress management throughout the day, making time for reflection, meditation, and activities you find relaxing. If you’re feeling anxious before bed, keep a journal on your bedside table where you can write down worries and let them rest until you can address them in the morning.
Take a nap if you need one. They’re called power naps for a reason. If you’re finding it difficult to make it through your work day because you didn’t sleep well the night before, try to find a few minutes to rest or take a full nap. A nap should be just about 20 to 30 minutes at most. Sleep longer, and you might have a hard time getting back into the swing of things.
Sleeping well doesn’t make you less productive — in fact, it can help you deliver better performance every day at work. Make time and prioritize sleep so you can have a better workday and better career.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.
Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.
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