Skimping on Sleep?

Author: Angela Campiere       

Have you ever had one of those days where you can’t stop yawning at your desk, no matter how many cups of coffee you drink? The answer is probably yes, according to a new study by CareerBuilder. Of 3,600 workers surveyed, only 17 percent said they get the doctor-recommended eight hours of sleep per night and 52 percent log just five to seven hours. A sleep deficit can affect many aspects of your life, including your productivity — 60 percent of workers said that their lack of sleep negatively affects their job performance. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting a full night’s sleep — followed by a more productive day.

Stick to a sleep schedule
We are creatures of habit, so developing a sleep schedule is a good way to help you get enough shut-eye. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule all week long will help you avoid that dreaded Monday-morning sleep hangover and help you sleep more soundly throughout the night once you hit the sheets.

Create a bedtime ritual for yourself
Follow the same habits around the same time each night. Similar to how parents get kids ready for bed, going through the same, relaxing motions every night — like taking a bath or reading a few chapters of a novel — helps ease us into a sleepy state of mind.

Avoid the snooze button
The magical, mythical snooze button — it’s so easy to hit it once or twice when your alarm goes off in the morning to catch a few more minutes of precious sleep. The sleep we get between snooze alarms, though, isn’t particularly beneficial since it interrupts your REM sleep cycle, making you feel groggier when you finally do get up. If you want to catch a few extra ZZZs in the morning, set your alarm a few minutes later. The benefits are twofold — you’ll get up at the same time and you’ll stay in your REM sleep cycle, meaning you’ll wake up more rested and ready to tackle the day.

Manage your stress
You may still be carrying stress with you from your workday when you turn in for the night. According to the survey, 47 percent of workers said that worrying about work keeps them from getting to sleep at night and 65 percent said that they’ve had work-related dreams. One of the best ways to manage stress and clear your head before bed is to write down all of the to-do items that may be circulating in your brain. The physical act of getting them out of your head and into a journal or notepad gives you time to both process how the day went and what you need to do tomorrow. And, as a bonus, tomorrow’s to-do list is already done!

Of course, all of these strategies are easier to incorporate into your routine when you’re not on the road, which often means adjusting to a different time zone. But you can still follow the same pre-bed rituals you do at home, and skipping the snooze button and journaling before bed are sound advice no matter where your job takes you. Be sure to check out these seven productivity tips for working from anywhere.

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