What is sleep deprivation?
Busy and stressful working lives are known to affect how well we sleep; however, the opposite is also true – a lack in sleep after a long day of hard work will have a detrimental effect on how well we perform at our job roles. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is crucial for a healthy lifestyle and to ensure maximum productivity when in the office, a lack of sleep will leave you feeling tired, less creative and make focusing on important tasks much more difficult.
Sacrificing sleep for work and then trying to make up for lost productivity becomes exhaustive and will result in an overall decline in job performance. Fortunately, we can get a greater understanding of the link between sleep and job performance in order to make better, more appropriate decisions that will in turn, result in greater productivity and a healthier way of life both inside and outside of the office.
How does sleep affect job performance?
Sleep is known to support nearly every system within our body. When we fall asleep, our entire body slowly relaxes into a calmer state, neurons in the brain switch to sleep mode, beginning the processes that refresh both our body and mind. This rejuvenation is crucial for our cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as our ability to think clearly, learn new information, and manage our emotions.
Without enough sleep, processes throughout the body cannot perform the way they should. The brain becomes overworked, which in turn affects our thinking and decision-making skills, slows down physical reactions, and leaves us feeling emotionally drained. Sleep loss can make it more challenging to maintain focus and attention, and trying to stay awake takes a lot of mental energy, making it more difficult to stay focused on long tasks and those that require concentration. These short-term side effects of sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on a day’s work and have a vast effect on how well we can perform at our jobs.
Improving sleep and therefore job performance
If sleep loss is causing you to be excessively tired at work, it might be time to make some changes in order to increase our performance, here are a few tips to start improving your work performance by improving your sleep:
It’s common to sacrifice sleep in order to finish work, watch television, or socialise. Consider the ways you justify staying up past your bedtime and ask yourself if these activities are really worth the side effects associated with sleep deprivation.
Research shows that allowing for psychological detachment after work hours and supporting employees’ needs for consistent sleep pays dividends by improving concentration and productivity during the workday. Creating a clean break at the end of the work day creates a shift in what your mind is focussed on and helps wind-down for the evening. Consider going out for a walk in the fresh air, read a book or find a hobby to take your mind off your work and prepare for a better night’s sleep.
Sleep hygiene is all about fostering good habits that promote restful sleep. Make a personalized plan for optimizing your bedroom environment, nailing down a consistent sleep schedule, fine-tuning a bedtime routine, and eliminating any daytime habits that are making it more difficult to sleep. You could allow more time to prepare for sleep in the evenings, or set a time to put away your phone before going to bed in order to reduce exposure to blue-light and give your eyes a rest.
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