The Link Between Sleep and Productivity

If you are a goal-oriented and driven person, then it is only natural that you want to be more productive. So, you may look up various tips, download apps, and do everything in your power to increase your efficiency. However, while doing all this, has it ever occurred to you to simply close your eyes and take a nap?

Now, the answer to this question is probably no. After all, most people associate sleep or resting with decreased productivity, not more. Well, believe it or not, sleep has a considerable impact on how capable and effective you are. So, if you are not getting enough shuteye, this could be having a negative impact on your productivity.

Not entirely sold on this idea? There’s no need to worry, there are plenty of facts to back up this research. First, though, let’s take a look at some important factors in maintaining a high level of productivity. This would be attention, good decision making, ability to remember, and accuracy. Let’s take a look at how a lack of sleep can affect all these aspects.

Poor Sleep and Attention

If you can’t focus on one task at a time, then it is going to take you a lot longer to complete your work. Well, research has found that one of the main uses of sleep is to regulate attention. When you get a good night’s sleep, your brain is better equipped to focus on information selectively. Therefore, you can pay attention to the task at hand before moving onto another.

However, when your sleep gets disrupted, this mechanism is interrupted as well. Thus, you may find it a lot more difficult to selectively concentrate. Your brain will be unable to filter relevant and irrelevant information and you will find it quite tricky to even manage the simplest of tasks.

Interrupted Sleep and Decision Making

In order to be productive, you need to make reliable decisions. When you don’t get enough sleep, though, this ability is impacted quite a bit. What experts have discovered is that people with a contracted sleeping schedule end up making riskier decisions.

What’s worse is that these sleep-deprived individuals didn’t even realize they were taking a riskier path! Now, such a thing would be bad enough with your personal life but it would be quite disastrous in your professional one. The experts also found that the more sleep deprived you become, the more haphazard the decisions you make will be.

Disturbed Slumber and Memory

This is something you may have experienced before. Perhaps you spent a night tossing and turning before an important presentation. Then, as you had to provide information to your audience, you found that you couldn’t remember half of what you had memorized. Well, there is a reason for this.

Scientists have determined that sleep plays a major role in memory consolidation. This is essentially when memories move to long-term “storage”, strengthening them. Much of memory consolidation takes place when you are asleep. So, if you lose out on shut-eye, you may find that your recall ability is impaired.

Insomnia and Accuracy

All the elements above have a high correlation to accuracy. After all, you need to be able to pay attention, make good decisions, and remember details if you want to be accurate. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a lack of sleep is associated with a greater number of mistakes.

Now, you don’t need to be told that any errors can have a negative impact on your productivity. Therefore, the more mistakes you make, the less efficient you will be.

How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

While the above information can be a bit gloomy, there is a solution to it all: sleeping soundly every night. Of course, if you are like most people, this is probably something you struggle with. Well, fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try:

Figure Out Your Circadian Rhythm

To start with, you should be aware of your personal sleep cycle. Understand, each person has a natural tendency to want to wake up and go to sleep at a specific time. This is because their body – their circadian rhythm, specifically – is wired that way.

One of the reasons people have trouble falling asleep is because they aren’t following their natural tendencies. However, once you know what they are, it is easier to deal with your sleeping issues. So, how can you do this? Well, there are quite a number of futuristic devices that can monitor this rhythm automatically. Or, you can rely on the old fashioned method of simply jotting down the times you get sleepy and then wake up naturally.

Get Enough Sleep

This may sound rather obvious but a number of people don’t get nearly as much sleep as they should. Between work and distractions, it can be tempting to limit your sleep to just five hours a day. This, however, can cause a drop in productivity. Instead, it is important to get around 7 to 8 hours each day.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise has a number of wonderful different effects on your body. For one thing, it helps to decrease feelings of anxiety, fear, or depression. Since these are all things that can keep you up at night, a workout can make it easier to doze off. Not to mention, exercise can raise your body temperature and then drop it, creating a precursor to sleep.

It should be noted, though, that these effects are most likely seen in people who work out regularly. So, it is a good idea to exercise three to four times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time.

Finally, if you do want to be more productive, then sleep is the way to do it. By getting your recommended amount of sleep, you will find yourself being more efficient and accurate. Not to mention, you will be putting yourself in a better position to learn effectively as well. So, the next time you think of skimping on your sleep, don’t!