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Sometimes hitting the snooze button sounds good doesn’t it? It’s recommended to have at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, yet 40% of Americans are sleep deprived . Personally, I’m a zombie if I don’t have at least 7 hours of sleep. And I seriously mean “ZOMBIE”… I’m slow, I have immense brain fog, I’m groggy all day, I can’t think clearly, my speech is slower, my comprehension skills go down the drain, I’m grouchy, and I’m hungry all day. On the other hand, I have a friend who is the Energizer Bunny after 4 hours of sleep.
For the average person, one night of missed sleep isn’t that big of a deal but repeated nights of missed sleep can affect your health and your work life. In a study by Hult International Business School, researchers found that most employees were averaging 6-6.5 hours of sleep each night. Those who participated in the study reported:
- poorer work performance
- difficulty focusing during meetings
*I was in a meeting recently where a woman actually fell asleep and hit her head on the table…that scenario was the inspiration for this blog post!
- taking longer to complete tasks
- struggling to generate new ideas
- reduced motivation to learn
- less able to manage competing demands
Unfortunately, when employees are showing these symptoms, managers tend to perceive the symptoms as signs of being a “bad” employee. On the contrary it’s just a negative consequence of not making sleep a priority. It’s important for employees to receive a good night’s sleep in order to be productive, creative, and focused at work.
Why is the average American struggling to get the recommended amount of sleep?
- not disconnecting from technology like TV’s and phones before bed time
- blue light emission from lights and technology at work and home
- sleep apnea
- having caffeine later in the day
- lack of exercise
- taking work tasks home to complete
- high carbohydrate dinners and snacks before going to bed
- pressure to stay at work for longer hours
- a bad mattress
So what can you do to combat these issues that are affecting your sleep?
2. Disconnect From Technology
Disconnect within 1-2 hours before bedtime. Read a book or play a card game.
3. Avoid Excessive Blue Light
- In the office space, see if your work can provide blue light filters for you computer screen and overhead lights. If not, invest in a pair of blue light blocking eye glasses.
- In your home, if you have “white” light bulbs try exchanging them with “yellow” light bulbs to reduce blue light exposure. Another great option is to turn off your regular lights and turn on a Himalayan Salt Lamp. This is the one I have and it’s on sale right now! You’ll reap the health benefits of the salt lamp and enjoy the relaxing light ambiance it provides.
4. Sleeping Disorders
If you think you may have a sleeping disorder like Sleep Apnea or Insomnia, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options.
5. Avoid Caffeine After 2:00pm
Caffeine can disrupt sleep if it’s consumed within 6 hours of your bed time.
6. Exercise 30 Minutes a Day
Your exercise routine should be moderately intense. If it’s difficult to hold a conversation while you are exercising, then you are within the recommended intensity range. This is called the Talk Test. Using the image below, your 30 minutes of regular exercise should fall within the orange zone.
7. Avoid Bringing Work Home
When you bring work home, you tend to stay up later which means your are impacting your sleep schedule. If work tasks are not being completed in a timely manner during the day, evaluate if it’s your workload amount, your time management skills, or possibly both. Each of those can be addressed so you you can avoid bringing your work home to complete.
8. Avoid Carbohydrates Before Bed
High carb meals and snacks before bed affect your ability to fall into REM sleep and it affects how long you stay in REM sleep. Low carb meals before bed have been shown to promote deeper and more restorative sleep.
9. Don’t Work Excessive Hours
If you feel pressured to stay at work for longer periods, evaluate if this is an internalized (perceived) pressure or if you are genuinely being pressured by management to work longer hours outside of your job duty statement.
10. Have a bad mattress?
You could be losing sleep from something as simple as that! Every body is different so you may need different things from your mattress. Keep in mind things like “do you sleep hot or cold?”, “are you a stomach, side, back, or combo sleeper” “do you need a bigger bed because you share it with a partner and pets”. A lot of things can impact your choice for a mattress that is right for you.
I’ve slept on a Tempurpedic, basic spring mattress, Tuft & Needle, Leesa, and a Sleep Number for a period of time BUT my favorite mattress thus far, is the Purple 3. I could go on for days on how amazing this mattress is. I sleep like the dead on this mattress. There is great airflow (I sleep hot), it’s supportive with just the right amount of “soft squish”…it basically “hugs” you in the best way possible (I’m a combo sleeper but mostly stomach).
This is such a popular mattress that it’s very difficult for businesses to keep in stock. From what I’ve heard, it’s also “never” returned because it has such a high satisfaction rating across the board. It is worth EVERY single penny. PLUS you can return it within 100 Days but it is recommended you sleep on it for 30 days while your body adjusts to a new mattress.
11. Take a Nap!
Read these books before bed and wake up a more confident you!
I’ve also published an article on LinkedIn regarding “mental toughness” which is a key psychological skill to create confidence and resilience in the workplace. Everyone who knows me personally, knows I’m a huge fan of “self improvement” books. I am a lifelong student and I’m always researching ways to improve myself. These are a few of my favorite books that have influenced me and maybe they can positively impact you!
- You Are a Bad Ass- Jen Sincero
- You Are a Bad Ass Everyday- Jen Sincero
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*UCK- Mark Manson
If you believe you may need licensed professional help to overcome confidence barriers, time management, communication skills, and workplace stress, your employer may provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and you typically can receive a limited amount of therapy and/or counseling sessions for free. Your insurance carrier may also cover therapy sessions with or without a small copay. Some insurance carriers also provide a limited amount of free online counseling sessions through partnered online providers. You can use these resources to create strategies to overcome internal and external stress that may be preventing you from achieving quality sleep.
Quality sleep plays a vital role in worker productivity. How well you sleep can impact your health and work life. Use these tips to help you improve your sleep and improve your productivity, creativity, and focus in the workplace!
How do you combat tiredness in the workplace? Did I miss your favorite way of catching some quality Zzzzzz’s? Share with us in the comments below!
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