How do you feel in the morning after you’ve had at least eight hours of restful, wholesome sleep? Chances are that the answer is refreshed and energized. Sleep is needed to recharge your batteries and help your body recover from the daily stress.
Does sleep really make us more productive and if so – how? How many hours of sleep do we need for optimal results? The following article will try to answer these important questions.
1. Does Sleep Make Us More Productive?
The short answer to this question is yes – sufficient sleep is required to boost productivity levels.
Clinical studies show that the lack of sleep can endanger the health and safety of workers because they’re more distracted and less capable of focusing on the task at hand. Sleep has a paramount positive effect on the functioning of numerous bodily systems.
Poor quality of sleep or the lack of sleep altogether have been linked to numerous unfavorable occurrences – traffic accidents, industrial disasters, distress and even an increased mortality rate. The human body doesn’t run on an endless supply of energy. We have a limited amount of time during which we can be productive and alert to the maximum. After that, relaxation is required to help the body recover.
Quality sleep provides energy and energy is required to handle just about every task under the sun – from construction work to solving mathematical equations. Thus, you need to get enough sleep regardless of your line of work.
This is a general overview of the importance of quality sleep. Let’s now take a look at some specific examples of how sleep can make you more productive at work.
2. Sleep Contributes to Emotional Wellbeing and Stability
Happy workers are much more likely to do a good job than individuals who are disgruntled or who are struggling with emotional issues.
When people are sleep deprived, they feel more irritable and angry. They’re hostile and less likely to collaborate or communicate effectively with others. Needless to say, collaboration and teamwork rank among the biggest essentials for ensuring productivity at the office.
The lack of sleep, especially when it becomes chronic, puts the human body in a fight or flight mode. People who are sleep deprived cannot relax and focus. They feel jittery, even aggressive towards others.
Sleep also has a serious impact on the body’s hormonal balance. Even when sleep deprivation is accidental rather than chronic, the key hormones that regulate emotions will be reduced and the levels of stress hormones will go up. Obviously, this isn’t a good thing health-wise or productivity-wise.
3. Better Decision-Making
Regardless of your job, you will have to make important decisions about the work process every now and then.
Sleep improves a person’s ability to judge a situation quickly and assess all factors of importance for a relevant and adequate decision.
Research suggests that tiredness and sleepiness contribute to indecision. The longer you go without sleep, the more difficult it will be for you to assess the pro and con arguments that have to be made to rationalize a decision.
Clinical studies suggest that people who are sleep deprived go through a similar decision making process to people who have consumed alcohol. Reactions are slowed down and these individuals are less perceptive and mindful of their surroundings. As a result, making a decision will necessitate more time and the final outcome isn’t necessarily going to be an optimal one.
4. Improved Physical Health
A healthy body needs sufficient relaxation and downtime.
The effects of sleep deprivation can be detrimental in terms of physical wellbeing. People who are chronically underslept will experience memory and concentration issues, mood changes, a weakened immune response, high blood pressure, an increased predisposition towards significant weight gain, a lower sex drive, a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
All of these add up to prevent a worker from giving the job their all.
The lack of physical health and wellbeing is felt at the workplace. The more time you go without sleep, the more pronounced the effect is going to be. This means your body will need a lot more time to recover and to get to a healthy state.
5. Productivity Isn’t Just about Enough Sleep – Consistency Is Also Required!
The key to being productive throughout the day is consistency. You have to come up with a healthy schedule and stick to it as much as possible in order to get the best results in the office (and in terms of being in an excellent condition).
Good sleep is all about consistency.
An interesting study was carried out in 2017. Undergraduate interior design students were monitored thoroughly to have their sleep patterns assessed. The students were also given cognitive assignments and their performance was examined by the researchers.
The study showed that irregular sleep patterns contributed to worse cognitive abilities. The students who didn’t follow a strict schedule needed a lot more time to handle the cognitive assignments than those who had an established healthy routine.
Various other clinical trials have reached the same conclusion through the years.
If you want to be healthy and effective at work, you will need a sleep schedule. Going to bed at 3am one night and at 10pm the next one doesn’t contribute to consistency. You cannot compensate for the sleep loss one night through oversleeping the next one.
Recovering during sleep is heavily dependent on the body’s circadian rhythm. These rhythms follow the day and night cycles. The body releases certain amounts of melatonin during the night and melatonin is incredibly important for sleep quality. As melatonin lowers in the morning, cortisol increases to wake you up.
The lack of a regular sleep schedule interferes with the production of these hormones. As a result, people who don’t go to bed at the same time may find it difficult to fall asleep and to wake up the next morning.
Taking good care of your body is a prerequisite for excelling at work. Coming up with the right sleep schedule could necessitate some lifestyle adjustment. The moment you experience the benefits, however, you will know that any sacrifice and modification is worth the results you’re going to get.