Here’s how skimping on sleep can take a toll on your career. By Priya Prakasan
Sleep is vital for both physical and mental health, yet there are those who proudly wear the ‘all-nighter’ badge in their quest for success. Little do they realise that they could be doing irreparable harm to their body and their career. It’s recommended adults sleep between seven to nine hours every night. It might be tempting to sleep less to get more done, but experts suggest you don’t cut back on the hours. Business leaders like Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Jeff Bezos, and Arianna Huffington have spoken about the importance of sleep for success and actively advocate it as a priority in their organisations. Here’s why you too should prioritise getting good shut-eye.
1. Sleep impacts performance
This one is a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised how many people take it for granted. If you are not getting enough shut-eye, your job performance will suffer. Sleep deprivation will cause mental distress, impairing your cognitive abilities, which will make it difficult for you to focus on your work. You’ll take longer to do tasks, will find it challenging to come up with new ideas and unable to keep up with the demands of your job. All of this means plummeting productivity. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. So reassess your schedule to ensure you get this optimal amount of sleep.
2. It affects your physical health
Apart from lethargy, sleep deprivation can also impact your physical health significantly. Your body becomes more susceptible to common illness that otherwise wouldn’t have made an impact. More alarmingly, some studies have shown that those with chronic sleep deprivation have a higher risk of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. To avoid potential long-term effects of chronic sleep loss, focus not just on the amount of sleep you get but also on the quality of sleep.
3. Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive abilities
Without adequate sleep our brain becomes overworked leading to diminished cognitive performance. We lose our ability to accurately perceive and assess situations, which in turn affects your reaction time, and impairs your judgement and decision-making. This can have huge repercussions when you’re a professional in a senior leadership position. So we suggest you add healthier sleeping habits to your to-do list.
4. It’s essential for emotional wellbeing
There’s a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Lack of sleep can make you moody, stressed, anxious and frustrated. Coupled with physical tiredness this is a recipe for disaster in the office. These side effects make it hard for the person to communicate and handle interpersonal relations, both of which are necessary at work and for professional growth. This strain on social relationships can prove to be quite challenging, and lead to further distress and mental health issues.
5. Sleep is key for learning and memory
Another reason you should ensure good sleep is that it can have a profound impact on learning and memory. Both the quality and quantity of sleep can affect your day-to-day mental functioning. Research suggests that adequate amount of sleep helps in consolidation of memory and in the learning new information. Those who are sleep deprived can’t focus and therefore learn efficiently. Plus, memories are consolidated in the mind during the process of sleep. This is when the neural connections that form memories are strengthened. So a good night’s sleep is essential for optimal learning and memory.
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