It’s no secret that sleep can benefit a variety areas of your wellbeing. However, it’s also evident that many people aren’t getting the necessary amount of sleep each night. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, over 58% of workers feel that they don’t get enough sleep. Sleep not only helps your overall happiness, but it is also something that can help you get ahead in your career.
Why You Need More Sleep
Sleep improves your health
The most obvious benefit of getting more sleep is that it helps to improve your overall health. Recent research has also found that receiving the recommended hours of sleep each night is associated with less time off from work due to illness. With more sleep, you are more likely to take less sick time at work, which is always an added advantage if you want to get ahead in your career.
Sleep enhances your memory
Studies have found that sleeping helps to strengthen the memories you have formed throughout a day. While you are awake, you accumulate a number of memories, most of which can be forgotten. However, when you sleep, some of those memories can be strengthened and better retained. Just like when you were told to not pull all-nighters in college, if you have an important presentation or are going to an interview, be sure to get sleep the night before.
Sleep increases your creativity
Sleep not only helps you to retain memories, but can help generate new ideas as well. When you sleep, your brain works to consolidate your memories and rearrange them. This rearrangement can create new variations of your ideas, which in turn, can spark creativity. Next time you’re stuck on a problem or are trying to find the best solution, try getting a full night’s rest before making a decision.
Sleep lowers your stress
Ever feel more anxious after not sleeping enough? According to the American Psychological Association, “Adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night report higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours a night.” Of those surveyed not getting enough sleep, they felt more irritable, overwhelmed, and lacking motivation.
Sleep strengthens your productivity
If you are feeling less productive at work, it could also be due to your lack of sleep. Studies have found that if you sleep more, you’ll make less mistakes, be less distracted throughout the day, and will have less trouble learning new things. The productivity you can gain from a good night’s sleep will have excellent benefits on your overall workday.
How to Get More Sleep
Getting the recommended 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night is easier said than done, but there are a number of simple steps you can take that can set you on the right path. Try combining several of the following ideas to be on your way to more sleep.
Make a bedtime routine
- Wake up around the same time each day
- Don’t sleep in as much over the weekend, limiting to an hour more than you normally would get during the week
- Make a bedtime ritual (such as taking a warm shower, reading a book, listening to music, etc.)
Manage your light exposure
- Don't use technology 30 minutes before going to bed
- Spend time outside during the day so you are exposed to natural sunlight
- Try sitting near a window at work
Watch what you eat and drink
- Avoid caffeine after 3pm in the afternoon
- Don’t eat heavy meals near the time you plan to head to bed
- Avoid drinking alcohol at least 4 hours before sleeping
Get regular exercise
- Even light exercise (such as walking 10 minutes per day) can improve your quality of sleep
- Finish grueling workouts at least 3 hours before bed
- Try relaxing exercises, such as yoga or stretching, during the late afternoon
Maintain a comfortable setting
- Make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
- Use your bedroom for sleeping and relaxing only (i.e. not as an office)
- Determine if your mattress is comfortable enough and the right size for you
When it comes to not getting enough sleep, it’s not just employees that can suffer. Businesses can also be negatively impacted when their employees are run down. Harvard Medical School researchers estimated that tired workers were actually costing U.S. businesses $63.2 billion in lost productivity each year. In order to not add to this total, it’s crucial that you get enough sleep and find the means to achieve it.
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