The Impact of Sleep on Productivity and How to Get Better Sleep

Everyone needs sleep. For adults to maintain their productivity, seven or more hours of sleep are required. However, the inability to sleep because of sleep disruptions is so common in the United States that it is labeled a public health pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted the situation, causing a severe disturbance in the sleep habits of the general populace. One research done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine showed that in the first five months of 2020, the number of search inquiries for “insomnia” in the United States increased by 58% compared to the same period in the previous three years. The statistics show that a lot of people suffer from poor sleep, and this, in turn, could affect their productivity.

Importance of sleep on productivity

In general, the role of sleep in productivity is beneficial as people sleep to recover from the tiredness of being awake and prepare for another day’s responsibilities. But psychiatrists argued that it has to do with its impact on the brain to explain how sleep is necessary for essential functions. Some of these include the following:

  • Improves brain functions in processing information. Healthy cognitive functions, such as attention, working memory, and the ability to learn and remember, are offered through the brain’s recovery activity when you sleep.
  • Enhances health by maintaining the immune system. When you sleep, your brain restores the energy and cellular supplies that are beneficial to developing a healthy immune system and metabolism.
  • Lets you perform better in activities. Sleep helps the brain comprehend information, and it also allows the brain to restore lost energy during wakefulness, ensuring that you are ready to perform better the next day.

Sleep can have a positive impact on your productivity in general. Whether it’s productivity in the personal, academic, or workplace aspect of your life, sleep is found to be beneficial.

Personal productivity

People who slept for 4 hours or less lost more productivity than those who slept for 7 to 8 hours. The study also found that a 50% reduction in productivity is caused by sleepiness during the day. Aligned with the brain’s functional sleep process, the fundamental role of sleep is to minimize a person’s energy consumption during the day and night or save energy when people are sleeping to perform better in the daytime, making sleep essential for individual productivity.

Academic productivity

According to a study done by Matthew Driller et al. (2022), academic performance is significantly related to students’ bedtimes. The study revealed that students who went to bed earlier have better academic accomplishments than those with later bedtimes. From this study alone, sleep is essential to academic productivity as poor sleep experienced by students is linked to attention and learning issues.

Work productivity

One study conducted in Japan showed that good sleep habits might help workers’ productivity. According to the study, poor sleep will affect workers’ concentration, fatigue, and memory, making it critical for workers to have subjectively satisfying sleep duration and quality. The findings indicate that people who obtain enough sleep will perform better at work.

Practices to sleep better

Despite the number of high sleep disruptions experienced by many people, it doesn’t signify that having healthy sleep is unattainable. A night of restorative sleep is possible, and there are practices that you could apply to ensure that you’re having a good sleep. These practices might help you gain the benefits of a good quality of sleep.

Limit screen time before bed

The light from your devices, such as television, computers, phones, and tablets, may keep you awake. A study on electronic device use before bedtime found that exposure to blue light from your devices is similar to exposure to morning sunlight. It makes the usage of electronic devices near bedtime one of the most prominent causes of sleep disturbance.

The findings revealed that the more time you spend using electronic devices, the shorter the duration and quality of your sleep would be. It indicates that you must limit your screen time to have a good quality of sleep. The research also stated that using electronic devices for less than 30 minutes before bedtime is acceptable. If you are experiencing sleep problems, limiting your electronic device use to 2 hours before bed is recommended.

Adopt a healthy drinking habit

This drinking habit refers to putting your caffeine consumption into consideration. According to the findings of a study, caffeine decreased sleep by more than an hour. If you lose this much sleep over several nights, it might affect your ability to operate throughout the day.

One of the most common recommendations for good sleep habits is to avoid coffee near bedtime. Caffeine consumption, even 6 hours before bedtime, has been shown to have significant disruptive effects on both objective and subjective measures of sleep. These findings indicated that limiting caffeine use for at least 6 hours before bedtime to have a good sleep is recommended.

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is sometimes challenging for a lot of people. Aside from work and personal obligations that take up a lot of time and make it difficult to get enough sleep, stressful life events also affect sleep disruptions. To ensure that you’re getting enough rest, you can try to have a regular sleep schedule.

This practice includes having consistent bedtime and waking time. You can try going to bed and getting up at set hours to help your body and mind relax in preparation for sleeping and waking. If you still can’t sleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something quiet and relaxing. Return to bed only after you’ve become drowsy and ready to sleep.

In conclusion

Sleep is not just a “time-filler.” It serves as an activity that, when done correctly, you could gain benefits from it that can even positively affect your personal and professional life. Identifying which practices work best or are relevant to you is also essential as you work towards a healthy life. Last but not least, remember that sleeping is not the opposite activity of being productive; it helps you be productive.

Sleep productivity is just one of the many elements that the Life Management Science Labs’ (LMSL) Personal Productivity Science Labs is conducting and collating research on. The lab produces courses, certifications, and other learning materials using the studies by the Institute for Life Management Science. To know more about how you can boost your efficiency at work, visit the Personal Productivity Science Labs today.

personal productivity science labs

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