Do you feel like you're only harnessing a portion of your full productive potential? You're not alone. While there are many factors that can influence your productivity, from organization and time management to the types of food you eat, one of the biggest is a factor that most Americans neglect--sleep.
Sleep and Productivity
There's no shortage of evidence that shows the intertwined relationship between sleep and productivity. Getting enough sleep each night (7 to 9 hours) helps you recover from distractions faster, reduce your probability of burnout, help you make better decisions, improve your memory, and even reduce the number of mistakes you make.
If you get too little sleep, it will impact your performance immediately, and if the problem is chronic, it could wreak havoc on your entire career.
So how can you get more sleep? If you're part of the one in three American adults who doesn't get enough sleep on a daily basis, it's probably not a simple matter of going to bed earlier. You either have time commitments that prevent you from getting as much sleep as you should, or you suffer from sleep complications that make it hard to get asleep or fall asleep for a reasonable period of time.
Fortunately, these strategies should help you get a better night's sleep:
1. Use a sleep cycle app.
If you have trouble sleeping consistently, there may be something wrong with your natural sleep cycles, so consider investing in an app or device meant to track and naturally adjust those cycles.
2. Be consistent.
Your body craves consistency, so forming a routine can be helpful in supporting healthy sleeping habits. Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, for example, can condition your body to wake up naturally at the proper time.
Establishing a routine may also help you wind down from the day, and go to bed ready to rest.
3. Nap--and plan those naps carefully.
If you like the idea of naps, you should be pleased to hear the scientific consensus approves of them for supplementing your sleep. If you miss an hour or two of sleep one night, try to take a quick nap during the day to make up for it.
Just don't nap too late, or you could interfere with your main period of sleep.
4. Invest in a new mattress.
A new mattress can make a world of difference on your length and quality of sleep. There are various types of mattresses, including coil, memory foam, pillow-top, and hybrids - and each type has pros and cons depending on your specific needs.
Copper-infused mattresses, like those from Layla, are becoming popular as they come with notable sleep benefits. Copper is known for its heat conductivity, which helps to wick away heat from your body and keep you cool throughout the night.
Copper also helps to make your mattress more supportive, and is shown to have antimicrobial properties that keep your mattress clean over time.
5. Work out.
Working out during the day (at least 3 hours before you go to bed) can help exhaust your excess energy, and condition your body to be ready for sleep. As an added bonus, all that extra exercise can boost your productivity even further, especially if you do it consistently.
6. Consider the substances you consume.
Think carefully about the substances you're consuming and when you're consuming them. For example, it's best to cut nicotine out of your life entirely if you want to start sleeping better, and it's best to consume caffeine in limited quantities, preferably early in the day.
It's also a good idea to cut out alcohol, or drink in moderation, since it can interfere with the restfulness and completeness of your sleep during the night.
7. Talk to your doctor.
Not all sleep problems can be fixed with an investment or habit change. More than 40 million Americans currently suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, many of which can't be fixed or mitigated with lifestyle adjustments alone. If you don't see any improvements from the items on this list, you'll want to talk with your doctor about the options available to you: prescription medication and therapy may be able to help.
With these tips, even the most sleep-starved individuals should be able to squeeze a few more hours of sleep out of their day. When you do, and you realize the benefits that a good night's sleep can have on your productivity, you'll be even more motivated to improve your sleep habits. It's an iterative process, and one that might take several weeks, but you'll be thrilled with the final results.