Many people don’t treat sleep like the vital key it is in maintaining a healthy life. They think they can get by with extra caffeine or make up for lost sleep on the weekends. When, in fact, getting proper rest every night is not something that should be sacrificed or taken lightly.
It’s often discussed how improper sleep can affect one’s physical health. Another consequence of poor sleep is a person’s diminished ability to accomplish things throughout the day. In other words, poor sleep most certainly affects productivity.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the U.S Department of Health & Human Services, lack of sleep or poor quality sleep has serious effects on productivity in the following ways:
“Sleep deficiency can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.”
Sleep deficiency is downright dangerous!
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of arranging their lives around getting a perfect sleep every night. There are plenty of reasons why sleep is sacrificed in order to simply get through the job of living day to day.
Some of the more common reasons people lack sleep is because they:
- Are a caregiver or parent of young children
- Work shift work or frequently travel through multiple time zones for work
- Suffer from disorders like sleep apnea or anxiety
- Make lifestyle choices that interfere with sleep like using alcohol and drugs
- Take prescription drugs that affect the ability to sleep soundly
In many of the above situations, people are somewhat trapped in a cycle of sleep deficiency. And fixing that is not as simple as going to bed earlier or trying harder, there are factors that limit one’s chances of sleeping soundly.
But even at the toughest times, it’s still possible to at least increase chances of getting a good night’s sleep or improving the quality of sleep a person does get.
Here are some strategies to help:
- Remove screens (TV, computer, etc.) from the bedroom and limit the use at least an hour before bed.
- Stick to a routine as much as possible. This includes going to bed at the same time every night and not disrupting it too much on the weekend. Going to bed and waking up late on the weekends can throw the rest of the week off.
- Get children in a routine, too, and stick to it as much as possible.
- Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Meditation, drinking tea, having a bath, or reading a book could help.
- Avoid daily consumption of alcohol.
- Don’t eat before bed or consume caffeine in the afternoon.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
- Invest in a quality mattress, pillows and bedding.
- Don’t let animals or children sleep in the bed. They need their own quality sleep too!
It’s a good idea to experiment to see what works for you. The more sleep you can get and the better quality of sleep it is will add many benefits to your life, especially when it comes to productivity. And think of it this way, the more productive you are, the more time you’ll have for sleep at the end of the day!