Hitting the sack early isn’t just beneficial to your health, it’s also good for your work productivity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 million workers get less than six hours of sleep per night. That’s nearly 30% of the workforce who aren’t getting the recommended seven to nine hours per night.
The majority of those workers not getting enough sleep tend to be shift workers who work off-hour shifts or irregular routines that can be highly disruptive to sleep. Research from the National Sleep Foundation found that many in the transportation industry report not getting enough sleep including:
- 50% of pilots
- 44% of truck drivers
For those of us who dwell in cubeland, most of our work tends to focus on mental and social skills, so being cranky and lethargic can pose a real hurdle to decision making, productivity and even safety.
Busy schedules can make it hard to get a good night’s rest, but to increase the amount of ZZZs you get a night, the National Sleep Foundation recommends:
- Establish a consistent schedule, even on the weekends;
- Create a regular bedtime routine like listening to soothing music or taking a bath;
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool;
- Exercise regularly.
For those unavoidable sluggish days, consider some of the following energy-boosting activities:
- Take regular breaks: even consider mindful meditation during these breaks
- Work standing up: this can help keep you from nodding off
- Take a power nap between 1:00pm and 3pm: this is the time when you likely most need it
- Drink water at 3:00pm: Many of us are chronically dehydrated and a glass of water in the late afternoon can provide rehydration to get you back on track.
Next time you want to take an extra hour by cutting into your sleep to get something done, ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Sleeping less may in fact make your work the next day take longer creating a perpetual spiral of lost sleep.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. Dr. Woody is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership. Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook.