Do You Want to be More Successful at Work? Do This One Thing

asleep at work

Can’t figure out why you’re not more successful in your career or advancing up the professional ladder more quickly? Maybe you should sleep on it… literally.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults with poor sleep habits report significantly less productivity levels each day than their well-rested counterparts. And a recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that people with moderate to severe sleep deprivation experienced more than double the productivity loss at work compared to those without sleep deprivation.  

Sleep deprivation at work is also proven to have the same effects on one’s cognitive abilities as alcohol consumption, and can cause employees to experience things like,

  • memory loss
  • irritability
  • lack of focus
  • poor decision making
  • lack of attention to detail
  • loss of motivation
  • an increased chance for serious errors
  • an increased risk of injury
  • poor communication
  • an overall reduction in productivity and job satisfaction

But, decreased workplace productivity levels caused by poor sleep patterns isn’t just a personal problem; it can have significant economic, global effects. A recent study in the journal SLEEP says that inadequate sleep affects more than 1 in 3 adults worldwide, and – just for Australia where the study was conducted – the overall cost of inadequate sleep totaled more than $46 billion in 2016-17. In another study “Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep” (2016), researchers found that the United States incurs the largest financial costs globally from poor sleep in working adults, topping out at $411 billion per year and loses roughly 1.23 million working days per year due to inadequate sleep.

But how much sleep do you actually need each night to be productive, alert, and energized at work? According to the National Sleep Foundation, it depends on your age, but for most adults between the ages of 26-64, 7-9 hours is the optimal range.

So, if you’re chronically sleep deprived, how can you break this bad bedroom habit so you can look forward to more productive days ahead at work?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following healthy sleep tips:

  1. Pick a bedtime routine (including a wake-up time) and stick to it every night, including weekends
  2. Avoid late-afternoon naps
  3. Exercise daily
  4. Optimize your sleep space so that it supports deep, restorative sleep
  5. Make sure your bed, including mattress and pillows, is comfortable and inviting
  6. Limit your screen time leading up to bedtime

If you’re still finding it difficult to get the recommended 7-9 hours each night and concerned you might have a sleep disorder, you may consider reaching out to a sleep disorder specialist for an evaluation.

The National Sleep Foundation offers a database of professionals here:

And American Sleep Medicine offers a free online self-assessment as well as access to sleep professionals:

You may feel that getting more sleep is a time-waster or simply not necessary for you, but if you’re suffering from poor sleep patterns or lack of sleep each night, addressing the problem and increasing your body’s (and mind’s) much-needed restorative period could be one of the best career moves you’ve ever made.

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