Working hard to get that raise? Or better yet, that promotion? Excellent work performance actually begins at home, in the comfort of your own bed. While exercising and eating a balanced diet play a significant role in your overall health, we tend to underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest.
What does a sleep-deprived brain do for you at work? Honestly, not a whole lot, unless you’re being paid to be an uncreative, unproductive, and moody sack, then you don’t really need your brain.
If you think about everything that goes into getting noticed for a raise or promotion, it will be pretty difficult to keep your positive attitude, your cool under pressure, and creative flow if you’re constantly running on little to no sleep.
On average, an adult needs anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep to feel well-rested. Everybody is different; there are some people who can function at their best with 5 hours of sleep a night–and yes, it’s okay to hate these people.
Research shows missing as little as 1.5 hours of sleep a night can result in a noticeable difference in cognitive performance that can have a negative effect on your work.
Short-term effects of sleep deprivation that won’t impress your boss or colleagues include:
- Decreased alertness
Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health concerns. Cortisol is the stress hormone produced in your body. It helps you respond to stress and danger, controls your blood pressure, and increases your body’s metabolism of glucose.
People who suffer from insomnia often report experiencing high-levels of stress, resulting in an increase of cortisol in the body which can make it difficult for the mind to shut off and fall asleep at an appropriate time.
Ideally, in a healthy body, you want your cortisol levels to be low at night when we are sleeping(so our bodies can rest and repair) and increase when we wake-up to give us energy for the day.
If your cortisol levels are what’s keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, then here are some stress reducing tips aimed at getting you some extra Zs.
It’s no secret that exercise releases stresses. Even 15 minutes of heart-rate elevating activity a day should give you a noticeable difference in the quality of your sleep.
Especially if you’re consuming caffeinated beverages throughout the day. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it increases the frequency of when you need to urinate. You need to drink extra glasses of water to compensate for the water you’re losing due to urination.
Bring a water bottle with you to work and make the effort to drink at least 2 full bottles even if you’re not feeling “thirsty.”
Dim the lights
Limit your exposure to bright lights and screens before going to bed. If you absolutely need to be on your computer or phone an hour before bed. Set a screen filter on your phone to block out the blue light.
Blue light is beneficial during daylight hours. It’s known to boost attention and reaction times but is distracting when settling your mind for sleep.
Make changes in your diet
An unbalanced diet affects more than just the number on the scale. Eating a balanced diet for your body will help reduce inflammation in the gut, reducing your body’s stress response.
Create a routine
Get into a routine to help you wind down from your day. Have a bath, listen to relaxing music, or an enjoyable podcast, or read a book for pleasure before bed.
Ask for help
If nothing else is helping you get a full night’s rest, it might be best to seek out a sleep professional. Your sleep health is important for maintaining your mental and physical health and in effect lead to an increase in creative thinking, positive outlook, and alertness.