Hello SOTGC community,
As Deepak Chopra said in his book, Super Brain, “Most People are aware of the importance of sleep, but as a society we don’t do what is good for us in this area. We are chronically sleep deprived and even proud of the fact, since it indicates a life on the go and total dedication to our work. But the mind platter indicates that true dedication would consist of balancing the brain for optimal performance, which means taking seriously time in, down time, and sleep time.”
Do you reach for more than one cup of coffee during the workday? Have you added “energy drinks” to your afternoon routine? Are you binge eating because you are trying to stay awake during the day? Have you stopped working out because you are “too tired?” All of the above are signs that you are not getting a restful night’s sleep. A few years ago, I found myself with two energy drinks in my work bag. It was 7:00 a.m. and I had already guzzled my second cup of coffee. As I stood in front of a customer, explaining my product, I could feel my brain disconnect from my body. I was still talking, but couldn’t remember what I was talking about! I had been running on about four hours of sleep per night during the week, and it was affecting both my health and my work performance. I had to change or my work would suffer!
Not only is sleep deprivation harmful to your productivity at work, but it also can greatly impact your overall health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 20% of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep per night, even though 8 hours are recommended. Those who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Lack of sleep also becomes a vicious cycle. Because you are sleep deprived, you become stressed, both at work and at home. Both your work and your interpersonal relationships suffer, which causes more stress. This increase in stress causes your sleep to become disrupted and in turn you cannot sleep!
So what can you do to ensure a restful night’s sleep? The National Sleep Foundation offers a few tips:
- Keep a regular bed and wake time schedule.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Maximize your sleep atmosphere: keep your room dark and at a comfortable temperature.
- No TV: your bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex.
- Don’t eat right before bed. Stop eating 3-4 hours before you plan to sleep.
- Get regular exercise.
- Do not drink caffeine, tea, sodas or eat chocolate near bedtime.
- Nicotine can inhibit sleep, so avoid it near bedtime.
- Contrary to common thought, alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep. Don’t use it as a sedative to get to sleep.
After working to increase my own restful sleep at night, I have noticed a marked improvement in my overall work performance. I no longer view sleeplessness as a “badge of honor” indicating that I am a hard worker. Being well-rested is now a part of living a balanced and healthy life for me, which translates to an overall more productive work day.
Do you have ideas for obtaining a more restful sleep? Continue the conversation with me on Twitter @ryangreenonline and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007156953049
Chopra, Deepak; Tanzi, Rudolph E. Super Brain. (New York: Harmony Books, 2012).
Bell, Vicki. “How Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance.” 14 June 2005. Online. Internet. Accessed 8 Aug. 2014. Available http://www.thefabricator.com/article/safety/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-work-performance