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Revenge of the Lack of Sleep
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That’s the mantra of the work-obsessed. You may feel like sleep is an area where you can cut corners, but not getting enough sleep is bad for your health and productivity.
Approximately 90% of people don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep that they need every night.1 Like many aspects of healthy living, we tend to ignore what’s good for us until we notice negative side effects of unhealthy choices.
If you’re forgetful, tired in the middle of the day, or have trouble concentrating, you may be sleep deprived. It’s tempting to work longer hours to get more done, but the reality is that you won’t be able to maintain solid performance without rest. You’ll more likely notice a drop in your productivity as you sleep less.
Sleep-walking through your life is dragging
Some people think they can make up for a night of poor sleep. Taking a nap the next day or sleeping in on weekends may make you feel like you’ve compensated for lost hours. If you’ve never had a health issue related to sleep deprivation, and you’ve been staying up late throughout high school and college, you might feel that this isn’t a big deal.
Unfortunately, you can’t just make up for lost sleep. Your body does best when you’re on a regular sleep schedule. Depriving yourself of rest is not like a charge on your credit card that you can pay off later. After you’ve lost the sleep, you can’t pay off sleep-debt. Read more about Why You Can’t Pay off a Sleep Debt You’ve Accumulated Over the Week.
Some people say that they can get by on 6 hours or less per night. They may be more tired than they realize. Just because you’re present and conscious doesn’t mean that you’re in top condition.
A study published on Brain and Behavior shows that our bodies sleep more efficiently if they have to, but our brains won’t be able to achieve peak performance.2 In fact, the brain of a person who sleeps less than 6 hours per night behaves like they’ve had a few drinks.3 Clearly, you won’t be able to do your best work if you aren’t well-rested.
You’re not yourself when you’re sleep deprived
Only a well-rested mind has the chance to be healthy and productive.
- Being tired makes you stubborn. Nothing makes you quite as bull-headed as wanting to take a nap. Even the most agreeable people become stubborn when they’re tired. Change requires energy, so naturally a sleep deprived person will be set in their ways.
- Forget about being creative. When you haven’t rested, you have to work extra hard to do basic tasks. With rest, you can come up with new ways to solve problems.
- You won’t feel motivated. Not only does your brain become less efficient after one night of poor sleep, but your drive to work also decreases.4 Even the easiest tasks seem challenging when you’re tired.
- Waiting around seems impossible. Patience goes out the window when you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re already tired, you may become impatient with anyone or anything that requires more effort or energy.
Find out more about how sleep is closely related to productivity here in this article: 8 Secrets About Sleep And Productivity I Wish I Knew Earlier
Break the sleep-deprived cycle
There’s still a lot that we don’t understand about sleep, but we know that our brains need it to function well. Just like your body needs to recharge after physical effort, your brain also needs real breaks to restore your energy.
Your mind has to rest in order to solve problems. If you focus on an issue for too long, you get tunnel vision. Allow yourself to enter diffused thinking mode, in which your brain works on the problem while you are doing other things. When you’re struggling, taking a break or sleeping on the problem is the best thing to do. Take a look at this article to find out Why Sleeping on a Difficult Problem Helps You Get the Answer.
Inspired to set yourself up for sleep success? Try Lifehack’s CEO daily routine: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning
Being sleep deprived may not seem bad on the surface, but it can cause a lot of health and productivity problems for you. You can’t be the best version of yourself without rest.
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