Sleep is serious business. Your sleep patterns (or lack thereof) can have a dramatic effect on your life and your work. The nature of work is changing, and technology is intruding more and more upon our body’s natural circadian rhythm, so it’s more important now more than ever to reclaim this most precious resource.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 7 hours of sleep per night needed to promote optimal health in adults. There are numerous other factors (such as genetics) that can influence exactly how much sleep you need, but 7 hours per night is optimal. A lack of sleep is associated with all kinds of negative health effects.
More than the overall health trouble a lack of sleep can cause, it can have a significant impact on your performance at work, resulting in a lack of focus and more errors on the job. It can even impact your performance as much as alcohol according to this research from the Harvard Business Review. Too little sleep can be dangerous, and that’s pretty scary stuff.
A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that regular sleep patterns resulted in higher academic performance in university students compared to their peers with irregular sleeping patterns. The difference in performance was not affected by the total duration of sleep. Even if these two groups of students ended up sleeping the same amount, those with a sleep routine tended to have better grades. So when you get your 7 hours, make sure they’re part of a routine. Catching up on sleep doesn’t factor in.
Your sleep habits affect your quality of life, your work, and your overall productivity. So what can you do about it?
- Try your best to stick to a regular schedule. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. When you get into a proper rhythm, you’ll feel more awake and focused. Even enjoying the luxury of sleeping late on the weekend can throw off your routine.
- Set an alarm if need be. Schedule your sleep. We’re big on scheduling here at Doodle, so trust us with this. Plan a little reminder to get you to hit the sack at a decent hour.
- Exercise. The three pillars of a healthy life are sleep, diet, and exercise. They’re all interrelated. A proper workout will not only improve your overall health, but it will also leave your body ready to recuperate, as exercise helps reduce stress and improves sleep quality.