Do you spend most nights tossing and turning? Unable to concentrate at work? The culprit could be your sleep schedule. Lack of sleep not only impacts your work quality but also your wellbeing.
If you spend most nights lying awake, you already know how you’re going to feel the next day: Grumpy, irritable and out of sorts. The truth is that losing out on the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep affects your work, health and overall peace of mind. More than a quarter of British employees admit that it takes them more than a couple of days to recover from a night of poor sleep. Research shows that the resulting loss of productivity currently costs British companies more than £40 billion pounds each year. The United States leads the list with sleep deprivation costing the country more than $400 billion every year.
As a matter of fact, lack of sleep is seriously impacting the global economy due to increased employee absenteeism and reduced performance. If you’re consistently sleeping poorly every night, it’s likely to have adverse career and health implications.
POOR SLEEP PATTERNS HOLD YOU BACK FROM PERFORMING AT WORK
Statistics published by World Sleep Society say that 46% of workers who suffer from lack of sleep make more mistakes compared to other employees who have had a good night’s sleep. During the day, the neuro systems produces a chemical known as ‘adenosine’ which builds up by nightfall and helps us sleep. When we suffer from lack of sleep, adenosine is not fully cleared from our systems and we feel groggy and lightheaded. As a result, sleepy employees are not as mentally sharp as they would be with a good night’s sleep behind them.
Sleep deprivation is not just annoying when an employee yawns in a corner, it can have serious repercussions at work that includes:
• Decreased ability to communicate (chronic or acute sleeplessness may result in slurring of words and blurring of thoughts)
• Irritability and moody behavior (you’re not in complete control of your emotions and responses)
• Longer time to process verbal and written instructions and understand work requirements
• Negative impact on creativity and decision-making
Poor sleep affects workplace relationships, too, as irritability and moodiness may encourage negative attitudes. Ever overreacted to a small issue after a late night on the town? Sleeplessness is to blame. When the brain is tired, the amygdala (a biological component responsible for emotional regulation), located in the middle-brain, tends to be overactive, resulting in emotional instability.
SLEEP’S ROLE IN HEALTH
While yawning, irritability, sluggishness and daytime fatigue are some of the more obvious signs, poor sleep can have more serious repercussions on our physical health. During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells, helping us remember new information that we’ve learned (this is why they say that ‘sleeping on something’ helps us retain information).
In addition, lack of sleep results in a compromised immune system and leaves us vulnerable to ailments like cold and flu. With less sleep, you are at a significantly higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation also increases risks for obesity by distorting the levels of two hormones known as ‘leptin’ and ‘ghrelin’ which control feelings of hunger and fullness. When we are sleep-deprived, the flux of these hormones often leads to night-time snacking.
Young children and teenagers, in particular, are suffer the biggest impact from a poor sleep schedule as it can impact on their growth hormone production. Interrupted sleep suppresses hormones that build muscle mass and repair tissues.
We can avoid problems that result from poor sleep by making a few simple changes to our lives. Read on for effective ways to enjoy better sleep at nights
SLEEP BETTER BY INCORPORATING THESE IMPORTANT TIPS
Effective ways to improve sleep include:
• Stay away from mobile phones, TVs and laptops in the hours before bedtime
• Stick to a specific daily sleep schedule–this helps our bodies develop regular patterns of sleep
• Choose comfortable mattress, sheets and pillows for increased physical comfort
• Get enough exercise during the day like walking, jogging, running, dancing, swimming and cycling; choose the form of exercise that works best for you.
There is a strong relationship between general wellbeing (both mental and physical) and sleep; if chronic sleeplessness develops into a consistent pattern, it has a cumulative effect on our ability to function. Most of us are aware that a good night’s sleep is the best to recover after a hard day’s work; but good sleep is not just critical to recovery–it’s essential to communicating well and functioning at your best through the day. Sleep is vital in helping us maintain cognitive function at the most fundamental levels.