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Why getting enough sleep is important for your career

Cute little ginger kitten sleeps on fur white blanket

Of all the things that you think could affect your career, getting enough sleep probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. But it turns out that sleep deprivation can not only be bad for your health but not so good for your job prospects either.

Sleep your way to a healthy life?

Not getting the right amount of sleep has been found to be bad for your health. The US-based National Sleep Federation has recently updated its sleep duration recommendations and The Guardian has reported that, “In making their recommendations, the experts [at the National Sleep Federation] took into account the health benefits, but also the risks, associated with sleep. Too little sleep over several nights leaves you tired, unable to concentrate, depressed, anxious and, eventually, if it continues, an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Too much sleep is associated with much the same problems.”

Sleeping your way to the top 2.0

If you’re going to progress in your career you’ll want to be at the top of your game. This means being able to concentrate, stay calm under pressure and preferably not yawning during meetings. Travis Bradberry, writing for Forbes, believes that not getting enough sleep could be bad for your career. He lists some of the side effects from missing sleep as:

  • Decreased creativity
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased stress
  • Memory lapse or loss
  • Impaired moral judgement
  • Symptoms similar to ADHD

None of these sound conducive to a successful day at the office, do they?

Don’t burn the candle at both ends

It’s easy to suggest making sure you get enough sleep, but what is the magic number? Most adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. To work out how much you need will probably be a case of trial and error. On a day when you don’t have work in the morning try going to bed when you’re sleepy, rather than fighting it, and don’t set an alarm. Work out how long you slept for and try it again the next night. If you need to get up for work, try setting an alarm just in case. It might take a while before you’ve got it down but eventually you’ll hopefully be able to work in tune with your own body clock and you can wave goodbye to mornings of being rudely awoken by your alarm.

Not fighting your tiredness is easier said than done. Hell, I’m doing it right now. You might think it’s more productive to stay up into the early hours to do more work but more often than not this is actually counterproductive. Make sure you get enough sleep so that you’re ready and raring to go in the morning. A company I really admire is Buffer. One of their values is live smarter, not harder; they want their team members to ‘value waking up fresh over working that extra hour’. Buffer understands the need for rest and relaxation.

It’s your responsibility to look after your health. If making sure you get sufficient shut-eye is going to help stop you from succumbing to diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, then what’s to lose?

Do you have any relaxation tips? What’s your favourite way to unwind and get ready for sleep? Tell us in the comments below.

Tomorrow’s prompt for the Blog Every Day in May challenge is ‘guilty pleasures’. Come back tomorrow to find out what mine are.

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