SLEEP AND WORK
After a stressful day’s work, it can be difficult to switch off and get that much needed sleep to help you function to the best of your ability at work. We spoke with Mind Bright founder Kristy von Minden to understand the impact that a lack of quality sleep has on individuals and their work performance. Kristy has also shared her top tips and insights on how to improve sleep quality.
SUPERCHARGE YOUR WORK PERFORMANCE WITH BETTER SLEEP
Scientific research confirms that getting enough sleep, both quality and quantity, is one of the most important things we can do for optimal health. Not only does sufficient sleep restore and fortify virtually every system in the body, but it also powers the mind, greatly increasing our ability to perform at work.
The National Sleep Foundation’s guidelines advise that all healthy adults need between 7-9 hours per night, yet a new study suggests that as many as 40 percent of New Zealanders aren’t meeting this requirement.
Even just one night of poor-quality sleep has an immediate effect on our cognition. Research shows that when we don’t get enough sleep, our brain’s executive functioning is impaired, impacting our ability to:
- think clearly
- lead effectively
- make decisions
- learn and recall information
- be creative and synthesise new ideas
- problem solve, think laterally and innovatively
Lack of sleep also lowers our self-confidence, ability to fight off illness, regulate our emotions and handle stress effectively. All vital attributes which allow us to be present, productive and achieve success in the modern business world.
There can be many reasons we struggle to get a good night’s sleep, but in our busy, constantly connected 21st century lives, one of the most common is a build-up of stress.
If wanting to improve your sleep and stress levels so you can excel on the job, addressing your sleep hygiene – the habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis – is a great place to start.
SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION
The most common symptom of sleep deprivation is feeling tired throughout the day. Other symptoms of sleep deprivation include:
- Forgetfulness and memory loss
- Reduced attention span
- Low energy
- Mood changes
- Impaired decision making
Symptoms will vary depending on the severity of sleep deprivation. The symptoms can also be masked by caffeine, so ensure you note how you are feeling when you aren’t drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
The good news for most of us is, just as one night’s bad sleep can negatively impact our health, we will just as quickly start to reap the positive benefits from even one night’s improved sleep. Simply knowing the impact an extra few hours shut eye can have on our health, happiness and performance at work may be all the motivation we need to turn our screens off an hour earlier and enjoy a sleep-in guilt-free when we can.