We live in a culture that expects us to be as efficient and productive as possible. Since there are only so many hours in a day, and way too many things to accomplish, the most common solution used by professionals all over the world is cutting back on sleep. Indeed, giving up one third of our time to inactivity seems counterproductive. However, not doing that is what makes millions of people lose or weaken their ability to stay productive and eventually turns into sleep deprivation. This article is dedicated to exploring this correlation between sleep and productivity.
First thing everyone should know about productivity is that it isn’t directly correlated with time. Working two times longer won’t make you two times more effective or productive. It can actually have the exact opposite outcome. As your brain gets tired after a few hours of intensive efforts, it is more likely to malfunction.
The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep – Arianna Huffington
This is exactly the reason why productivity experts advise us to take often breaks and do the most important tasks first thing in the morning. Our brain needs rest in order to keep functioning at its best. Not getting enough sleep has dramatic consequences over our productivity. Read forward to find out more about this, and how to deal with the most common problems that might stay in the way of a healthy sleeping routine.
The negative effects of not getting enough sleep
Experts estimate that the consequences of sleep deprivation over employees’ health and productivity cost U.S. companies around $63 billion every year. It’s not a surprise that being constantly exhausted has a negative impact over your work productivity, but seeing it black on white might help convince you to prioritize your sleep. So let’s discuss some of the major negative consequences of a poor sleeping schedule over your body, and ultimately, over your work abilities.
Difficulty to focus
According to Alaska Sleep Clinic, the symptoms of attention deficit disorders (ADD and ADHD) are almost the same as those caused by insufficient or poor quality sleep. It has also been demonstrated that lack of sleep impairs our selective attention. People who don’t get enough rest are much less able to focus on a task while other things are happening around them.
Loss of memory
Numerous scientific studies show that during sleep, our brain processes information, reactivating memories and transferring data from short to long-term memory. It is also believed that going to sleep soon after achieving new information helps our brain retain and better recall it at later times.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting enough sleep increases your capacity of making accurate split-second decisions by four percent. It might not seem much but is it really worth taking one bad decision out of 25 just due to lack of proper sleep?
Prone to mistakes
This might seem hard to believe, but NSF research shows that even moderately sleep-deprived people have a 50 percent lower accuracy and slower response rate than under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, dealing with sensitive information and important tasks after a white night is almost the same as having some tequila shots before going to office.
A good night sleep feeds creativity and helps the brain synthesize new ideas. A sharp mind also triggers innovative thinking, which can only be achieved by getting enough rest.
Not surprisingly, all the factors mentioned above will also have a negative impact over your overall mood. Feeling tired, hungry, unable to focus and struggling to remember things will increase your sensitivity and lower your tolerance to frustration. In a workplace environment, this can affect your relationship with team members, superiors, and customers.
In the long run, sleep deprivation has devastating effects on our life quality. Being unable to focus, making lots of mistakes, always struggling to remember things and often being in a bad mood will eventually get you to a I can’t do this anymore point.
You can see how all these problems can have negative consequences over your productivity in general and over your work productivity in particular. So next time you will be tempted to push work longer into the night, just remember you are not doing anyone any favor.
Solving the most common sleeping issues
Being aware of the tremendous importance of a good sleep isn’t all that matters, unfortunately. Many of us have problems falling or staying asleep, in spite of our best efforts.
Some sleeping issues might have deeper roots that would require professional help, like anxiety, ruminating etc. However, many of the most common sleep impediments are much easier to fix. Read forward to find out what exactly these problems are and get some advice that might make your nights better and your days more productive.
As we are approaching the middle of the summer, rising temperatures can interfere even with the most regular sleeping schedules. Setting your thermostat to a steady 65 F/18 C degrees should help you stay cool and sleep chill.
But if AC isn’t an option for you, there are other ways to keep cool during the night: having a fan next to your bed, cooling your bedsheets in the freezer, cold showers, and even tucking yourself into a wet sheet are just a few viable options.
Springs poking your ribs, bed sheets that make your skin itchy or pajamas that make you sweat and uncomfortable can be the worst enemies of a good rest. Investing in a quality mattress, breathable bedding, and suitable sleepwear is definitely worth it.
Also, did you know that sleeping naked is not a good idea, even during the hot season? Cotton clothing allows your skin to breath, while also absorbing your sweat, which makes it the ideal sleepwear.
There are many people who claim to be able to sleep undisturbed by loud noise, but very few of those can actually cope with noise while falling asleep. So, if your neighbors decide to use the drill or turn up the volume of their speakers at the worst moments, you can either cover your ears with a pillow, or use some ear plugs 😉
However, a much effective and comfortable solution is using white noise to help your brain block the disturbances. White noise can be anything that uses the same intensity over a long period, making it predictable, monotonous and boring: fan noise, rain noise, or even traffic noise. You can either download a dedicated app, search YouTube, or use your old fan to also keep you cool and dry during the night.
Not feeling tired
Blue screen keeps your brain active and prevents you from dozing off. This is why specialists recommend putting aside any electronics at least 30 minutes before going under the blanket.
Instead of watching TV or navigating social media on your phone, try picking up a book. Falling asleep after reading no more than three pages is almost guaranteed.
The sleep and productivity correlation
In order to balance your health and productivity, you first need to prioritize your sleep. Working long hours into the night might seem like a good idea to keep up with the demands of your job.
However, on the long run this strategy might prove to be counterproductive. A balanced life is the safest way to achieve success, which is why you need to keep it balanced. Ideally, you should dedicate 8 hours of your day to work, 8 hours to your personal life, and 8 hours to your sleep.
Have you ever experienced sleep deprivation? What was its impact over your productivity? We are interested in reading your story in the comments section below.