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6 Ways Lack Of Sleep Is Destroying Your Life

6 Ways Lack Of Sleep Is Destroying Your Life

We all know that horrible feeling that comes from lack of sleep. We’re grumpy, sluggish, foggy and completely uninterested in whatever we’re doing that particular day. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that lack of sleep can have an enormous impact on your life and not a positive one.

Here’s six reasons why you should get between 8 hours’ sleep a night.

1. Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Serious Health Problems

Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

According to some estimates, 90 percent of people with insomnia (sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling and staying asleep) will also have another health condition.

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2. Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Depression

This happens over time with chronic lack of sleep, lack of sleep. In a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.

The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without.

Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

3. Lack Of Sleep Can Lead To Weight Gain

Lack of sleep can increase hunger, increase your appetite and even be linked to obesity. A study in 2004 showed that those who got less than 6 hours’sleep a night were 30% more like to become obese compared to those who got 8-9 hours’.

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Ghrelin is the chemical that stimulates appetite and Leptin is the chemical that suppresses it. Recent research shows lack of sleep causes the body to increase the production of Ghrelin and decrease the production of Leptin.

Hanger caused by lack of sleeptriggers cravings for high-fat foods, making it even more likely you’ll gain weight.

4. Lack Of Sleep Can Age Your Skin

We’re all familiar to the puffy, red eyes and sallow skin look that comes from a few missed or bad nights of sleep. For those who suffer from chronic sleep loss they can expect to get dark circles and fine lines around the eyes and lackluster skin too. This all happens because the body produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol, when you’re tired. In excess amounts cortisol can break down collagen in your skin. (That’s the stuff that keeps your face smooth and elastic.)

5. Lack Of Sleep Can Harm Your Productivity

We all find it hard to work when we’re tired but could you imagine working never having a good night’s sleep or no sleep at all?

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Lack of sleep causes us to lose concentration and interest in tasks very quickly. Our ability to focus is nearly non-existent and resilience doesn’t seem to show up at all.

This can have a serious impact on productivity and quality of work. This will lead to an increase in stress levels, being nagged at by co-workers for making mistakes, which will subsequently lead to you not liking your job. This in turn will also have a negative impact on your productivity.

6. Sleepiness Causes Accidents

It’s hard to believe that lack of sleep can cause serious and sometimes fatal accidents. Lack of sleep is a huge public safety hazard on the roads, hence the laws outlining how many hours you can drive before you’re legally required to take a break.

According to research done by ‘The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (RoSPA) up to 20 percent of accidents involving automobiles were caused by driver fatigue and also accounted for up to 25 percent of all fatal and serious accidents.

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Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as that of a drunk driver. Those who suffer from sleep disorders, such as those with chronic sleep loss, are 6-15 times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident than those who don’t.

Studies also show that sleep loss and poor quality sleep can also lead to accidents and injuries at work and on the job. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work related accidents and they also had more sick days per accident.

It’s extremely important to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night. If you suffer from lack of sleep or can’t sleep properly you should consult your doctor to see if they can help. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference sleep can make to your life and you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without it. So make sure you try and get those 8hours a night!

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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