Are You Getting Enough? by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Sleep, that is. Many people look for all sorts of ways to improve their productivity without ever realizing that they might be inadvertently reducing their productivity by burning the proverbial candle at both ends. sleep4

Sleep deprivation can cause a lot of problems, and can interfere with out ability to get things done. When we’re tired, we work more slowly and we make more mistakes. We can also be indecisive, feeling that every decision we make is a big deal. In addition, we may have poor judgment, so those decisions we make may not be good ones. Lack of sleep significantly affects our brains, causing lack of focus and clarity.

Over time, lack of sleep can also lead to health problems. When we don’t get enough rest, our immune system is compromised, so we’re more likely to catch colds and other viruses.

Lack of sleep also negatively affects our moods, making us irritable and cranky. We find ourselves unable to enjoy the things we used to, which leads to further stress, and, potentially difficulty sleeping.

Our bodies need between six and nine hours of sleep each night. Experiment with both the short and long end of that amount, and see how much sleep makes you feel best. Once you’ve determined where your body functions optimally, aim to get that amount of sleep each night. A good sign that you’re getting the right amount of sleep is when you wake up just before the alarm goes off.

If you don’t get enough sleep because you suffer from insomnia, try natural remedies, like essential oils or breathing exercises to help you fall asleep more easily. If these don’t work, talk to your doctor about other methods to help you get back into a natural sleep pattern.

Ensuring you get plenty of sleep is a simple way to help ensure you stay healthy and productive. You’ll think more clearly and make better and faster decisions. You may have become accustomed to being tired, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering negative effects because of it. Take the time and the steps you need to get enough rest to ensure you function at your very best.

Sleep – How Much is Enough? by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Burning the candle at both ends is a common trait among the very ambitious. However, while we may feel as if we can get more done if we simply stay awake for a few more hours each day, we may actually be sacrificing productivity when we sacrifice sleep. It is important to find out the right amount of sleep for your body, so that you can be as productive as possible, without damaging your body and mind.sleep2

The average person needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. This range varies by person, including some people who function best on six hours of sleep and others who really need ten. What is just as critical as the number of hours spent sleeping is the stage of sleep. Those who get very little deep REM sleep (the most restful kind) may still feel tired after 10 hours, while another person who gets seven good hours of REM sleep feels very refreshed.

Sleep needs vary by age and phase of life, as well. We all know, for example, that children need more sleep during growth periods. Adults need varying degrees of sleep at various life stages, but it is often because their sleep becomes less restful. For example, as a person’s health declines, they may find themselves waking more frequently during the night, causing them to need more sleep overall.

Determine Your Personal Needs

Determining your personal sleep needs can be fairly simple, but does take some attention. It’s a good idea to keep a sleep diary for a few weeks, to help you determine patterns. In this diary, record the following:
• your waking time
• the time you go to bed
• approximately how long it takes you to get to sleep
• how many times you awaken during the night
• how tired you feel during the day, and
• when you feel ready for bed at night

After a couple of weeks, a pattern should emerge. You should be able to see a correlation between the amount of sleep you get, when you get it, and how you feel the day after. This information will help you to determine when you should go to bed and wake up each day. Another simple trick is to pay attention to whether you begin to awaken naturally just a few minutes before your alarm sounds. If you are still sleeping soundly every morning when the alarm sounds, you are not getting enough sleep. If you begin to rouse on your own just a few minutes prior, your body is on a good schedule.

Lack of sleep leads to mistakes at work and forgetfulness. It can also cause mood swings and depression. Over time, it wears on your health, as well. It is important to determine the perfect amount of sleep for your body and strive to reach this level regularly.

The Positive Benefits of Regular Sleep by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Any time you’re pursuing an important goal, there is a tendency to overwork. There can be too many tasks to accomplish and your life can feel overwhelmed. In many cases, this activity can lead to a lack of sleep.sleep3

Sometimes, the lack of sleep is the result of trying to fit too much activity into the day, resulting in working late into the night. Other times, you may try to sleep, but stress and a long list of incomplete tasks may make you restless, causing insomnia.

Regardless of which problem you’re having, it is important to get back into your regular sleep routine. There are several benefits that come from regular, restful sleep.

1. Ability to focus. When you are sleep deprived, you lack focus. Simple mental challenges are suddenly more difficult. You are more likely to make mistakes when you do not get regular sleep. In the long run, you may put in more working hours, yet be less productive.
2. Health. Busy people don’t have time to get sick. However, people who don’t get regular sleep are much more likely to get sick. This is another way lack of sleep negatively affects productivity.
3. Outlook. When you are tired and unproductive, you are more likely to have a negative outlook on things. It could even lead you to give up on a goal that you would likely have reached too soon.

Handling Insomnia

But, what if you’re trying to sleep, but just can’t seem to get any rest? This is an all too common problem when there are many things going on in your life, and when you are under stress. Here are some ways to help increase your chances of sleep.

1. Don’t work right up until bedtime. Take some time to unwind from work before bed. Do something enjoyable, such as reading, watching television or enjoying your favorite hobby. This will help slow your mind, making it easier to sleep.
2. Avoid alcohol. If you find that you fall asleep easily, but wake during the night unable to go back to sleep, alcohol could be part of your problem. Stay away from the alcohol and see if you don’t start sleeping better.
3. Don’t sleep with the television on. While television can be a great way to wind down before bed, it’s not a good idea to leave it on while you sleep. The background noise of the television can prevent your brain from shutting down appropriately so that you can rest peacefully. If you like to fall asleep to the television, use a remote with a timer so that the television will shut off.
Regular sleep is an important part of your health and your productivity. When something gets in the way, it can cause many problems you might never suspect. Work to get your sleep patterns back on track so that you can get back to your normal, productive life.