There are very few people who wouldn’t agree we are living in a very busy and hasty society. Taking into account a growing number of distractions and technologies we need to tackle on a daily basis this is something to be expected. The problem is the way we deal with these growing challenges to improve work performance.
Namely, there are a lot of people who think the solution for this problem lies in cutting the sleep hours and thus ramping up the productive hours.
That is a big mistake. Although staying up wake longer will give you a couple more hours to do your thing, sleep deprivation can destroy your productivity in the long run. Let us take a look then at how exactly proper sleep affects job performance and try to use this knowledge to achieve a better work-life balance.
How sleep affects productivity
So, let us start the discussion by addressing the most important question of all – how the quality of sleep affects your wake hour productivity. Fortunately, the scientific community has been very active in discussing these topics and the research results may surprise even the most vocal sleep deprivation supporters.
Namely, the recent research conducted by Forth HealthCare Business Health indicates that cutting your sleeping time for only one hour and a half results in the drop of daytime alertness by as much as 32%. Decreased alertness, in turn, impairs your ability to think and effectively process information.
Furthermore, the article published by Sleep Health Solutions claims that prolonging this form of sleep deprivation over extended periods of time can cause serious physical and mental health issues like hypertension, faulty brain function, and anxiety.
To sum it all up, although sleep deprivation theoretically gives you a couple more hours to perform your daily tasks this newfound wake time is not productive and thus not suitable for serious business challenges. Waking up well-rested puts you into a much better position to improve work performance and perform daily obligations with increased concentration and productivity.
How to get higher quality rest and optimize sleeping hours
So, instead of trying to cut your sleeping time, you should instead aim to use the time you are spending in bed to acquire higher quality rest, fall to sleep faster, get your prescribed 7-9 hours of sleep, and gear yourself up for tomorrow’s challenges.
Build an adequate sleeping environment
If you are constantly experiencing the feeling you are waking up tired despite sleeping your regular 8 hours, the chances are your bedroom environment is affecting the quality of your rest. The first culprit you should take into consideration is, of course, your bed. Sometimes even something as simple as getting a new quality duvet cover can drastically influence your bedtime experience. Other factors you should try to address are noise levels, poor lighting, poor temperature control, and too much technology in the bedroom.
Get some exercise before sleep
Putting aside all the health benefits of having a good daily workout, we can also list several compelling reasons, why you should schedule your training sessions before sleep. First and foremost, good training reduces fatigue and helps you fall asleep much faster. Second, according to the John Hopkins Medicine article moderate evening exercise increases the amount of slow-wave (deep sleep) which helps the brain and body to rejuvenate more effectively, better rejuvenate, and reduce fatigue preparing for the tasks at hand.
Create a rigid sleep schedule and stick to it
A healthy routine can solve a lot of problems and bad habits in your life. Sleeping disorders are really no different. So, do your best to use your next couple of weeks to go to bed and rise up in the morning at the same exact time each day. This healthy routine has several benefits and will improve work performance. On the one hand, you will be able to stabilize your circadian rhythms and get more rest from your sleep. On the other, a strict sleeping schedule will allow you to better organize your morning hours in the most productive and effective manner.
Work to eliminate stress and anxiety
Stress, sleep disorders, and lower productivity levels form a vicious cycle that keeps on spinning until you start tackling all these problems at the same time. We have proposed some functional solutions for two out of three. Now, stress and anxiety are probably the biggest obstacles in this course and require the most work. Fortunately, the ways to reduce stress are very numerous and cover simple lifestyle changes like eating healthier food, cutting the nicotine use, practicing relaxation techniques (meditation, yoga, qigong), and to the biggest possible extent eliminating the stress triggers at work.
In the end, we can quickly summarize that if you are aiming for better performance at the workplace, depriving yourself of sleep and trying to squeeze more work hours out of your day is the worst thing you can do for your productivity but also for physical and mental well-being. Instead, to improve work performance, try making your 8 hours in the bed count. If you wake up rejuvenated and well-rested all of the problems ahead will be solved with far more ease and speed.