Published 22 September 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Workplace, Productivity

Ways To Get Better Sleep To Be More Productive At Work

Why Better Sleep Equals Better Work

A bad night of sleep is almost always a recipe for an unproductive day ahead. You know this all too well: you’re groggy, you’re irritable, you’re making stupid mistakes, and suddenly, simple tasks seem complicated.

A solid night of sleep isn’t just important to your health and well-being; it’s also a strategic workplace resource. Losing as little as an hour of sleep a night has been linked to declines in memory, increased workplace injuries, and wasted time online.

What Lack of Sleep Is Costing Your Workplace (and Your Brain)
All this sleep depravation takes a massive toll on workplace productivity. The average person loses more than 11 days, or US$2,280, in productivity each year due to lack of sleep, according to research by Harvard Medical School. Across the globe, this sleep deprivation costs companies more than $63 billion annually.

But what is it costing your brain?
Impaired memories and attention spans. A lack of sufficient sleep also negatively impacts workplace culture and relationships: a major setback for anyone who is working closely with clients or colleagues.

For starters, avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, late naps, extra snoozing, stress and making up for lost sleep.
Get to bed quickly instead, do a bit of exercie, take a hot shower and eat a small healthy snack.
Wear socks (if it isn't too hot) and if you really can't sleep, paint your bedroom wall blue.

How to sleep better
Now that we know why a good night’s sleep is so important, here are simple yet often overlooked tips on how to sleep better.

Know the rhythms of your body
Following your body’s natural biological clock, or circadian rhythm, is key to making sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep at the right time for your brain and body. Keep in mind that when you don’t get enough light in the morning, too much light at night, travel across time zones, or maintain an irregular sleep schedule, you run the risk of disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends
One common way people try to ‘make up’ for sleep is by sleeping in on the weekends. Tempting as it may seem, if you normally get out of bed for work around 7 a.m. but you sleep in past 10 a.m. on the weekend, you start to shift your circadian rhythm and may find it hard to get to sleep on Sunday night. It’s best to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time, plus or minus 30 minutes every day.

Be careful when you nap
Rather than sleeping in on the weekend, try fitting in time for lost sleep when your body’s rhythms call for it. Naps that occur during natural dips in circadian rhythms, such as between 1 and 3 p.m., are especially effective. What’s more, keep naps to around 20 minutes to prevent the body from entering into deeper sleep that can result in sleep inertia, or feeling sluggish when you wake. The idea is to wake up energised, not groggy.

If you can’t sleep, get out of bed
This seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. Often when we have trouble falling asleep, we lay in bed “trying” for hours. This is dangerous. If you find you can’t get to sleep for more than 15 or 20 minutes, get out of bed because this leads to insomnia in the long run.

Give yourself an hour to unwind before bed and let your phone sleep too.
An hour of time at night to unplug from your workday can help you have a better night of sleep, This could be anything from watching television to reading. The key is to stay out of your bed during this time and focus on activities that wind you down rather than stimulate your mind.

Keep your room cooler at night
This is because our internal body temperature decreases as we sleep. Taking a hot bath before bed is a good way to do this. Anything that drives your body temperature up within an hour of sleep is likely to deepen your sleep.

Get plenty of daylight in the morning
Morning light helps you reset your biological clock. You can think of it as the first deposit in your sleep bank for the day. Once you see bright light filtering in, your brain begins to register that it’s time to be awake and you start building up that reserve of wakefulness that goes toward a productive day.

If you’re feeling groggy and unfocused at work, chances are the first thing you need to do is take a closer look at how and when you’re sleeping. Most importantly, listen to what your body needs. Make good sleep a priority, and your workday will no doubt benefit.