Weekly Journal

Sleep and Your Productivity

Kaila Krayewski

Abi Buller

1st November 2018

Sleep. A basic need for all mammals which is categorised along with eating, drinking, and reproduction. Something that children often fight against, while adults crave the time to satisfy their optimum nightly dose. Certainly not an element of the human body’s functionality which should be ignored or disregarded, our end-of-day period of shuteye is more beneficial to our wellbeing than many people realise. The age old advice to ‘sleep on it’ can be applied to a myriad of scenarios. Whether you’re struggling through a project, having emotional difficulties, or are faced with making a tough decision, a good night’s sleep is often the powerful remedy you need to appease your issue. Particularly when it comes to being productive, achieving a suitable amount of quality sleeping hours can seriously boost your efficiency.

Sleep vs. Your Body

A sleep-deprived mind functions (or rather, lacks function) in a similar way to that of a drunk person. Lack of sleep can cause our reactions to be slower and our judgements to be misaligned. But it’s not only our precious minds which suffer without the refreshing rectification of rest time. In fact, our entire bodies also feel the damaging effects of this type of neglect. Studies show that after 36 hours without sleep, we become scarily more susceptible to a variety of medical issues. Sleep deficit causes our bodies to produce a significantly reduced amount of essential antibodies, including 70 percent less of the critical immune cells which help prevent cancer. People who are unable to get a good amount of sleep on a regular basis are also more vulnerable to heart failure, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.

Sleep vs. Your Emotions

Sleep has a serious impact on our mental wellbeing and psychological tendencies. Our emotional receptors often become overly sensitive when we live our lives on minimal sleep, meaning we are more prone to mental illnesses including anxiety and depression. It can, therefore, affect us not only on an introspective level but within our interpersonal and professional relationships as well. In a work environment, for example, we may react more quickly and intensely to stressful scenarios. We are likely to be less patient, attentive, and compassionate towards others. This kind of negative energy will also have a knock-on effect to those who we are closest to. Choosing not to take responsibility for our basic human needs can be considered as a selfish act due to the lack of concern about how your emotions can impact other people.

Sleep vs. Your Behaviours

Your emotions and behavioural patterns tend to work in tandem with one another. So it figures that when your mental state is off-balance due to a lack of sleep, your physical behaviour will be reflective of these inefficiencies. Our patience and tolerance levels tend to plummet when we’re fighting against exhaustion. We can become aggressive or hostile. Even our body language is likely to be lazier and more haphazard than usual. The negative effects of a lack of sleep can also impact a variety of daily tasks, affecting our memory, and spelling and organisational abilities. A number of job roles, particularly those in the public services, could suffer seriously dangerous consequences if employees attempt to perform their required tasks when they’re not as alert as they ought to be.

Redesigning Your Sleep Patterns

There are all sorts of theories about sleeping patterns and how we can achieve the perfect balance between resting and awake time. We’re all familiar with the suggested eight to 10 hours of nightly shuteye, the advice to go to bed and rise at the same time, and to avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol before going to bed. While all of these are suggestions to be mindful of, it is also wise to design your sleeping pattern around your own personal needs. Consider your daily life, your job role, hobbies, and personal commitments. Do you often work until very late at night? If you’re a creative-type, perhaps you feel most inspired when darkness falls. Some of our idiosyncrasies simply don’t work with the theories we’re told about how and when we should sleep.

When attempting to reconfigure your sleeping pattern, perhaps a good place to start is with finding an effective way to monitor your sleep and its correlation with how productive you are. Try keeping a journal, using apps such as Sleep Cycle or Sleep Time, and analysing your emotions and behaviours after a decent amount of sleep. Even after careful moderation, it’s unlikely that every morning will leave you feeling fully refreshed, but you’ll be sure to feel amazed after even a few days of improved sleep.

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