How Much Sleep Did You Get Last Night? - 30 April 2019

How Much Sleep Did You Get Last Night?

You'll have seen those "Tiredness Kills" signs on roadsides and no doubt listened or read recent news reports about sleep – or lack of it – and how it affects our health.

There are the enduring myths about highly successful people who succeed on just a few hours sleep. Margaret Thatcher famously survived on just four hours sleep a night, and she was fairly successful in her chosen field, right?

The fact is that most people can't function like that and it is highly likely it is just a myth about Thatcher anyway! The NHS recommends adults get between six and nine hours sleep every night to be on top form.

When it comes to your career a lack of sleep can mean much more than being a little sluggish in the morning, it can be the difference between success and failure. Tired people are nowhere near as productive as those who are properly rested.

This is what getting enough sleep can do for your working day:

Increased productivity

Research shows that the biggest killer of productivity is tiredness. Tired people have less energy and react slower. On top of this, your focus and creativity will be clouded by a fog of sleep deprivation.

One study in the US of over 4,000 workers found that staff with insufficient sleep spent three times as much of their day on simple time management than those who had slept enough.

Getting enough sleep to make you sharper and generally keep you more motivated.

Better decision making and memory

Think about the last time you were very tired. Did getting your thoughts together feel like a real chore? In general, people who have had enough sleep are able to make split-second decisions 4% more effectively than sleep-deprived people. This might not sound like much but added up over a day, or a week, the positive effect of this is huge.

Properly rested brains are also able to retain information better and recalling that information from memory is so much easier. In short, sleep recharges your brain and the proper amount of rest will put it on a full charge.

Recover from distractions

There are so many distractions in the workplace. Like that co-worker who will talk about anything to try and avoid work. Having enough sleep will help you keep your focus on the task at hand, repel any distractions and, if you are distracted, return to the task effectively. Over a week of work, this will help you achieve so much more.

Overall better health

A lack of sleep isn't just detrimental to your mental state, it has wide-reaching effects on us physically and emotionally as well.

Fatigue will leave you more susceptible to illnesses like colds and fevers, with tired people, in general, taking more sick days. This, in turn, puts them behind on the work and increases the stress caused by their workload.

With fewer illnesses and improved health, you'll be much more effective at dealing with anything that comes your way.

Deep sleep is responsible for repairing and restoring body tissues and muscles increase the chance of aches and pains, plus increases the chance of exhaustion. A study of athletes found that those who have not slept tire 11% quicker than those that had.

This is also true of mental health. A lack of sleep has been proven to increase the chances of irritability and bouts of upset/anger. This can lead to negative workplace attitudes and behaviours, creating tensions, stress and conflict that could be avoided.

Emotional instability is a huge killer of productivity and a wide-spread cause of unhappy workplaces. Getting enough sleep reduces the chance of you being part of that problem. You'll be happier and so will everyone who works with you.

Ask yourself the question "how much sleep did I get last night?" Then think about if you are regularly getting enough sleep or not. If you find you are not, you need to change your routines to get enough rest. The results on your work life and life, in general, will be positive and noticeable.

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