Sleep and Productivity

Sleep and Productivity are Linked

Did you know that sleep deprivation has a significant impact on productivity? This is because sleep and productivity are closely related. According to the Harvard Business Review, sleep deprivation costs American businesses $63.2 billion each year in lost productivity. That’s a lot of money!

Not only is sleep deprivation bad for your bottom line, it can also have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. In this blog post, we will discuss the impacts of sleep deprivation on work productivity and physical and mental performance. We will also offer some tips for getting more sleep!

What is Sleep?

Sleep is a naturally occurring state of rest for the body and mind. Sleep is vital for physical and mental health. During sleep, the body repairs itself, grows new cells, and replenishes energy stores.

The brain consolidates memories and processes information from the day. There are two types of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. Most people cycle through all three stages of non-REM sleep several times during the night.

The first three stages are progressively deeper levels of sleep. Stage one is light sleep; stage two is moderate or semi-consciousness; stage three is deep sleep. Delta waves begin to appear in an EEG recording during this stage..

During REM sleep, dreaming occurs and brain activity is similar to that during wakefulness. The eyes move rapidly in different directions and muscle paralysis occurs.

The sleep cycle repeats itself every 90 minutes or so. Most people spend about 20-25% of their sleep time in REM sleep and the rest of the time in non-REM sleep.

There are a number of physiological changes that occur during sleep. Body temperature decreases, heart rate slows, and blood pressure falls. breathing becomes more regular and muscles relax. More on that later.

Dreams are a normal part of sleep. Dreams are usually visual images, but may also include sounds, smells, and emotions. They typically occur during REM sleep but may also occur during non-REM sleep.

Sleep deprivation has a number of effects on the body and mind. Sleep deprivation can lead to impaired judgment, decreased reaction time, and increased risk of accidents.

It can also cause moodiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. In addition, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Benefits of Sleep

There are many benefits of getting enough sleep. Sleep helps to:

  • Restore physical energy: in stage three of non-REM sleep, or deep sleep, the body produces ATP, a molecule responsible for energy.
  • Improve mood: according to this research, sleep deprivation not only increases negative responses to stimuli, but it also blunts the positive responses
  • Reduce stress: sleep deprivation or fragmented non-REM sleep is associated with increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Sharpen attention and focus: people learn more effectively when they have gotten enough sleep because they can better remember new information. Studies show there is even a noticeable difference in creative problem solving ability between those who slept seven hours and those who slept eight.
  • Boost immunity: cytokine levels in the body are elevated during periods of slow wave sleep. Some cytokines help immune system cells to proliferate and multiply faster.
  • Tissue repair: the pituitary gland releases a surge of growth hormone, which helps to repair tissue and cells throughout the body

All of these benefits are essential for peak productivity at work. When you’re well-rested, you have the energy to take on challenging tasks, you’re in a good mood, and you’re able to handle stress more effectively. You’re also able to think more clearly and make better decisions.

Deprivation of Sleep and Productivity

Sleep deprivation can have a major impact on your productivity at work. A lack of sleep can lead to:

  • Difficulty concentrating: even partial sleep deprivation leads to a decline in cognitive functioning, including working and long-term memory. Attention lapses may be the result of impaired functioning at the prefrontal cortex.
  • Slower reaction time: slower reaction time can result in mistakes or even tragedy. It is estimated that up to 6,000 deadly automobile crashes occur each year as the result of sleep deprivation.
  • Difficulty making decisions: studies show that the judgement process slows down during sleep deprivation, causing a sleep deprived person to make poor or delayed decisions.
  • Increased errors and mistakes: not only does a sleep deprived person think more slowly than his rested counterpart, but tired individuals also show greater propensity for risk taking. This delayed judgement results in greater errors.
  • Impaired memory: the neurological pathways needed to form new memories are created and maintained by the body during sleep
  • Increased risk of diabetes: sleep deprivation is associated with insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. One study showed that individuals who logged less than five hours of sleep per night were over twice as likely to develop prediabetes than the group who got at least seven hours of sleep.
  • Cardiovascular disease: during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, the body slows its heart and respiratory rates to allow for recovery and restoration. Without enough sleep, the body misses a crucial time to repair and the heart misses its chance to rest a bit. The impact can be dramatic when compounded over time.
  • Obesity: this is linked with the increased risk of diabetes mentioned above. Insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are well established symptoms of metabolic syndrome and go hand-in-hand with obesity. Increased blood sugar levels are common in obese individuals and those with type-2 diabetes.

All of these impairments can have a negative impact on your work performance. If you’re struggling to concentrate or make decisions, it’s going to be more difficult to get your work done effectively.

Sleep and Productivity

Tips for Getting More Sleep

If you’re not getting enough sleep, there are some things you can do to try and improve your sleep habits. Some tips for better sleep and productivity include:

  • Establishing a regular sleep schedule: this means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help to regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Creating a calming bedtime routine: this can include winding down for 30 minutes before sleep with calming activities such as reading or taking a bath or a warm shower.
  • Avoiding caffeine before bed: caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so it’s best to avoid caffeine after lunch if you want to sleep well at night.
  • Exercising regularly: exercise can help to improve the quality of your sleep, but it’s best to avoid exercising close to bedtime as this can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Create the right environment: create a dark, quiet and cool environment in your bedroom to help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
  • Limiting screen time before bed: the blue light emitted by screens can suppress melatonin production and make it harder to fall asleep, so limit your screen time in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Dietary supplements: some dietary supplements are useful for promoting sleep and restfulness. Melatonin is probably the most popular along with valerian root. If restless leg syndrome is your problem, studies show that iron may help. Certain types of kratom have are also reportedly helpful with getting to sleep.
  • Pharmaceuticals: on the OTC side of things, diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl, Unisom) is probably the most popular drug option. As far as prescriptions go, Lunesta and Ambien both work well.

Conclusion

Sleep and productivity go hand-in-hand. Sleep is essential for our productivity, both mental and physical. A lack of sleep can lead to a number of impairments that make it more difficult to get our work done effectively.

If you’re struggling to sleep, there are a number of things you can do to try and improve your sleep habits. Creating a regular sleep schedule, establishing a calming bedtime routine, and avoiding caffeine before bed can all help you to sleep better at night.

Creating the right environment in your bedroom and limiting screen time before bed can also improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re still struggling to sleep, there are a number of dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals that can help.

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