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How Does Sleep Impact Productivity?

by BetterSleep
Sep 11 2023 • 4 min read

Have you ever felt like you can’t keep your eyes open at work after a restless night? You’re not alone. Most of us don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and it’s seriously impacting our productivity. When you’re drowsy and foggy-headed, even simple tasks seem impossible. Your concentration plummets, creativity vanishes, and motivation dwindles.

But there’s good news! Making sleep a priority can have huge payoffs for your productivity and performance. Getting adequate rest fuels your brain and body, rejuvenates your mental sharpness, and recharges your motivation and creativity. If you’ve been skimping on sleep, prepare to be amazed at what a well-rested you can accomplish.

How Can Better Sleep Improve Productivity?

In a recent study involving 1,000 adults, researchers closely monitored the quantity and quality of sleep and found that work productivity decreased due to various factors, including insufficient sleep, excessive sleep, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness.

Just one night of sleep deprivation impacts your creativity, shortens your attention span, hurts your decision-making skills, and disrupts short-term memory. After a few nights of restricted sleep, these impacts become even more pronounced. 

When you sleep, your body goes through cycles of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and deep sleep. REM sleep facilitates cognitive functions like learning, memory, and mood. Waking up during this phase can leave you feeling groggy and impaired. Enough good sleep recharges your mind and body, and without it, you suffer. 

But there’s a catch to this. According to the researchers’ findings, too much sleep can have a counterproductive effect. You must find the balance between too much and too little sleep. But how much sleep do you need to have a productive day?

How Much Sleep Do You Need to Be Productive?

In one extensive sleep study spanning six years and involving over a million participants, Dr. Daniel Kripke and his team at the University of California San Diego discovered that a consistent 6-7 hours of sleep every night helps most people achieve optimal health and longevity. 

But the exact amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, including your age, genetics, and activity level. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to feel well-rested and alert during the day. Some people need a little more, some a little less, but if you frequently feel drowsy during the day, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.

Some common signs indicate you may need more rest:

  • You need an alarm clock to wake up.
  • You feel tired and irritable during the day.
  • You lack normal memory and sufficient concentration.
  • You have trouble waking up in the morning.

To determine your ideal amount of sleep, go to bed a little earlier or sleep in a little later on weekends and observe how you feel. You want to find the amount of sleep where you feel refreshed and energetic upon waking. 

If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, a short 20-30 minute nap can improve alertness and performance. Mark Rosekind of NASA, the researcher behind this study, affirmed that a brief 26-minute nap could enhance a pilot’s mental performance by an impressive 34 percent. Furthermore, a 45-minute nap yielded a similar cognitive boost, and remarkably, the heightened focus persisted for over six hours.

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality

Try these tips to improve your sleep quality and feel more rested:

1. Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps establish your body’s circadian rhythm and optimize your sleep. A consistent sleep schedule reinforces your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed. 

2. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed

Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep later on. Stop drinking caffeine by mid-afternoon and avoid alcohol for 4-6 hours before bedtime. Alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy but can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fragmented and less restful sleep.

3. Limit Daytime Naps

While power naps can be rejuvenating, long or late-day naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. Limit naps to 30 minutes and avoid napping after mid-afternoon. You also have to refrain from taking daily naps as it can make it challenging to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. 

4. Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment

Prepare your sleeping environment: dark, quiet, and cool for the best sleep. Turn off your lights and electrical appliances. Use your bed only for sleep to establish the proper association. Finally, make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable to help you sleep soundly through the night.

5. Listen to Sleep Music

Playing soft relaxation music, nature sounds, or a meditation soundtrack can establish a peaceful sleep setting while concealing disruptive background noises. Sleep sounds incorporate soothing frequencies, natural sounds, or white noise to encourage good-quality sleep and treat common sleep disorders. These sounds act as a buffer against sudden noises that might interfere with your sleep.

Final Thoughts 

So now you know that getting better sleep doesn’t just ensure you feel rested: it also helps unlock your productivity potential. Prioritize getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and you’ll notice big benefits. You’ll get more done in less time, have better focus, make fewer mistakes, and feel less stressed. 

Download our mobile app today to enjoy exclusive access to over 150 sleep sounds, from binaural beats and solfeggio frequencies to natural sounds and ASMR for sleep, You’re sure to find a rhythm that helps you fall asleep faster and deeper.

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