What Happens When a Professional Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep

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Dara CruzWriter

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Working adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every day, but many professionals sleep far less than that. Here's how sleep deprivation can harm your performance and your health.

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What Happens When a Professional Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep

As we get older, our lives get busier, there are increased obligations, work gets more demanding, and it often results in less time dedicated to good and healthy sleep. As a result, many professionals end up sleep-deprived, and others suffer from sleep disorders that keep them up at night. Working adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every day, but many professionals sleep far less than that.

Effects of sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can cause both professional and health problems. Work-related problems resulting from a lack of sleep include poor work performance, increased work-related accidents, increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and job satisfaction, which stunt career development and progression. A lack of sleep can also affect a professional’s health, which is linked to heart attacks, stroke, and high blood pressure.

The best ways to manage sleep deprivation

Getting enough sleep can be challenging at times, but there are things you can do to help you get a good night’s sleep. Try incorporating the following into your routine:

  • Turn off your lights about an hour before bedtime
  • Manage your sleep cycle
  • Keep away from distractions
  • Limit your caffeine intake
  • Find a way to unwind
  • Only go to sleep when you’re tired

Understanding your circadian rhythm

Being exposed to unnatural light keeps you awake and can also affect the quality of your sleep. It's because your body produces less melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.

To increase melatonin production and get your body into a sleepy state, turn the lights off an hour before you plan on sleeping, switch off the TV, and stop using your mobile phone. Invest in thick, black-out drapes so that your bedroom is completely dark.

Understanding and managing your sleep cycle will aid in getting a night of good sleep. The body needs about four of both REM and NREM cycles to function optimally. Each cycle is between 70-190 minutes. The best way to track these cycles is by using a sleep tracker or fitness watch. Monitor your cycles and patterns and make adjustments to the time you go to sleep.

Managing screen time

It's easy to get distracted by watching TV or scrolling through social media on our mobile phones or tablets. To prevent this from happening, either switch off your phone when you get into bed, or keep it away from your bedside, so you aren’t tempted to use it.

Understanding the effects of caffeine

You might feel like you can’t function without your cup of joe to get you through the afternoon slump, but stop drinking caffeine at about noon if you want to improve the quality of your sleep. Try swapping coffee or tea for herbal drinks or water.

Sometimes, despite how tired you are when you get into bed, you struggle to fall asleep because your mind is still active and stimulated. Find a way to calm your mind before going to bed. Activities like yoga, meditation, or simply going for a gentle walk are fantastic ways to relax and still the mind.

As much as you want to hit your sleep target, resist laying in bed and forcing yourself to sleep when you aren’t tired or can’t fall asleep. Pushing yourself is counterproductive. If you find yourself lying in bed and unable to sleep, it's better to get out of bed and do something else. Read a book, make a warm drink and only get back into bed when you feel sleepy.

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation

Dara Cruz

Writer

Dara is a freelance business content writer who enjoys sharing the knowledge she’s accrued from her own entrepreneurial career. She grew up in Florida, but moved to North Carolina in her early 20s to escape the punishing summers. She lives with her two cats, DiMaggio and Lambeau. When Dara isn't working she loves hiking and listening to live music.

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