How many times before a big day you heard someone telling you – Get a good night of sleep. It’s so common that you hear it all the time when you are having a big exam, a date, or a business presentation.
It seems that everyone knows just how important it is to have a good night sleep. Moreover, we know just how important sleep is for our overall performance.
But, regardless of our knowledge on the subject we still want to be more productive on less sleep, which is pointless, because if you want to be more productive you should sleep better – not the other way around.
Keep reading to discover how poor sleep can harm your productivity and how you can enhance your performance.
Productivity And Sleep
In order to function properly, you need to sleep properly and according to your age, as it’s the only way to maintain your well-being. Also, sleeping helps you reload your batteries. So, if you miss on sleep you are making your brain suffer.
Sleep has the power to help you recover, refresh and refocus. Moreover, sleep has the power to help you reach high productivity. People are stressing nowadays more than ever and they have this feeling of missing on so much. Furthermore, people are caught in this belief that if they sleep they are missing on things.
You think that you can do more if you sleep less and have more time, right? Well, no. That will actually lead to completely opposite effect and you won’t be able to achieve not even a tenth part of what you had planned.
In order to reach productivity heaven, you need to sleep well so you can support your built-in mechanism that will take care of your physical and mental well-being on a regular level.
If you are working/studying for 40 hours a week then you should be able to maintain good sleep. But if you are feeling like you are not as productive as you should be the chances are that your everyday life is not supported by good sleep.
But, do you know what a good sleep actually is? By the definition, good sleep refers to both the amount and the consistency of your sleep.
How Sleep Can Affect Productivity?
When you miss on your sleep you are missing on the following day as well. After a night of poor sleep, you are not capable of focusing properly or doing things promptly as you would like on a day of good sleep. There are two major productivity killers when it comes to sleep.
Productivity Killer: Insufficient Sleep
Insufficient sleep is the number one productivity killer. Simply said, you can’t be productive if you are not getting enough sleep. In addition to that, your productivity will suffer and you will have less energy and react slower. Furthermore, you will feel less focused and creative. Moreover, you will have troubles solving problems and making decisions. These difficulties are also signs of sleep deprivation, especially in teens. Nothing falls so difficult to teenagers shoulders like teen sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation is a condition that can devastate us, emotionally, mentally, and physically. When you don’t get enough sleep you experience difficulties memorizing and focusing the following day. Sometimes even for days if sleep deprivation becomes a regular thing.
Our bodies are designed to regenerate when we sleep, so when we miss on sleep we are actually missing on repairing our body tissue and muscles. As a result, our muscles ache more and, in addition, we can be exhausted easily.
It’s extremely easy to see how the effect of sleep deprivation can negatively affect your productivity at work, school, and life. Overall, being sleep-deprived is like being drunk and you know that feeling probably – how unproductive you can be when you’re intoxicated.
Fun fact: If you miss on a whole night sleep you will be 50% slower than someone with just 0.1% blood alcohol level.
Productivity Killer: Inconsistent Sleep
When it comes to factors that are most responsible for low productivity, inconsistent sleep is the second most common productivity killer. This is probably most seen during college days, when you want to have great academic performance but also rich social life, and your sleep is suffering because of it.
Simply said, the regularity of sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep that you are getting on a daily level.
Inconsistent sleep can dis-balance your melatonin level and therefore worsen your cognitive abilities during the long period of time.
From the scientific side, you should know that each body function and need is supported by another body function. For example, our sleep cycle is run by our circadian rhythms, which follows the day-night cycle. In sync with that schedule, our body releases melatonin in the evening, signaling our brain that it’s time to start falling asleep. On the other hand, in the morning, our cortisol levels rise as melatonin lowers. What does it mean? It means that the body awakens and prepares to meet the day. So, we are going beyond our regular sleep schedule, our melatonin production gets delayed, so we don’t fall asleep on time and we even experience the trickle-down effects.
You shouldn’t ignore your internal body needs. Ignoring your internal needs can have serious effects on your productivity. A good example of this are night-shift workers with flipped schedules, as they are more prone to demonstrate impaired focus and on-the-job errors. It doesn’t mean that they are bad workers, it simply means that they go against their bodies rhythm and there are always consequences.
As you can see, sleep deprivation is a major productivity killer that can manifest in smaller on-the-job mistakes to massive and scarier consequences like drowsy driving accidents.
Does More Sleep Make You More Productive?
Long story short, yes. Better sleep means that you will increase your productivity. Luckily, this sleep and productivity relationship works both ways, and just as poor sleep can worsen productivity, good sleep can help it. If you train yourself to get adequate sleep you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Better memory
- Lowered risk of burnout
- Easier problem-solving
- Faster reaction times
- Better decision-making skills
- Better creativity flow
In order to enjoy these benefits, you need to get a good night sleep first. Even if you’re sleeping enough, you won’t experience all the benefits if your sleep is not deep. For example, individuals with restless leg syndrome, have difficulties experiencing deeper sleep, so they experience reduced productivity every day in each area of work.
Overall, good sleep helps you sleep better, and therefore makes you more productive.
How Much Sleep Do I Need To Be Productive?
Firstly, this is not an easy question to answer. Secondly, if you ask just ten people this question you will get ten different answers. We are all different and therefore our body needs are different. Some people would say that they need just eight hours of sleep per day, others six, while some would say that they need at least nine!
Although there is a sleep standard according to your age individual need is a completely different thing, although, in reality, most people sleep between six to eight hours. So, the question – How Much Sleep Do I Need To Be Productive, deserves an honest answer – ‘it depends’. If you just woke up after sleeping for seven hours and you are feeling extremely sleepy the chances are that you probably need more sleep.
On the other hand, if you slept for eight hours and you feel like you slept for days it simply means that you slept way more than your body needs it, so you should shorten it. Simple as that.
What About Napping?
Some people are ready to miss on their night sleep because they will have one or more, naps the following day. Again, we are all different, so what works for one won’t explicit work for another one.
But, if you are not still hooked on napping time and you are just thinking about it, you should start with basic step – get to understand the art of napping first. Our honest advice would be not to take longer naps and to nap in the afternoon, perfectly before 5 PM. Why? If you extend your napping beyond that, you may have difficulties getting sleep in the evening.
How Can I Make My Sleep More Productive?
If you really want to make your sleep more productive, you need to make sure your sleep is really a good sleep. Therefore, you should be ready to make some changes in your lifestyle and work toward reaching your goal. That being said, you need to understand that just like with any other aspect in your life you really have to work for it and do your best. Here are ten tips on how you can make your sleep and your life more productive.
- Have a sleep schedule – feel free to test your sleeping habits in order to find the perfect sleeping schedule. You need to let your internal body clock tell you how much sleep is enough for you. Don’t force it, maybe you are a type of person who needs nine-hours-sleep a day. Once you know how much sleep you need per day you will have to set your body to sleep during the night, when your body really gets a lot of rest. Once you know your sleeping needs and schedule you can build from there.
- Have a bedtime routine – calm bedtime routine is a great way to have your life in balance. Bedtime routine can include whatever makes you calm, like light yoga or sleeping tea. But what we can recommend for sure is that if you should limit routine to a minimum of 60 minutes. But if your schedule is too tight you can shorten it to 30 minutes. The ultimate goal here is to train your mind to associate bedtime routine as a preparation for sleep, so you should aim for specific activities that will serve as a trigger for your mind to recognize the ‘sleep hour’.
- Create a good sleep environment – your bedroom is your sleeping temple and you should treat it like one. Remove all distractions, especially electronic devices. Keep the right sleeping temperature. Also, keep your bedroom dark and clean.
- Turn off devices– anything that interferes with your sleep should be turned off, especially your smartphone. Keep your phone far, away from your face as a mobile phone can really drown our eyes with blue light.
- Use naps – everyone needs a break from time to time, so if you think that a nap will boost your productivity turn off for 20 to 30 minutes a day for recharge. Keep naps short and fresh.
- Soak up the sun – yes, sun is important. Make sure that you use sunshine to recharge and refresh your organism, especially in the morning. Our brain is designed to connect the sun with the need to be active and alert. Use sunlight as a light therapy.
- Be active – exercise regularly so you can improve your sleep. If you are not a fan of heavy fitness you can have regular and long walks, just avoid exercising late at night.
- Watch your diet – you are what you eat and your body reflex it. Eat well during the day, but eat light after afternoon. Limit alcohol, avoid nightcap, drugs, and caffeine. Avoid fatty food and late-night snacks, especially those filled with sugar.
- Have a good morning – productive sleep is best finished with productive waking. Never hit snooze and simply spring up out of bed. Have a morning routine and let the sunshine in. Simply said, allow your body to adjust to the day.
- Have a to-do list – plan your day ahead by creating a to-do list night before. Schedule tasks, but make sure that you free your mind before you go hit the sleep land.
All together, proper sleep is tightly connected to how well you perform and how productive you actually are. It’s essential to get enough sleep, otherwise, you are doomed to spend much more of your time finishing tasks.
When you get enough sleep you are getting an opportunity to do things in a proper manner and in a short period of time. Have a proper sleeping routine for strong productivity.