Harness the Career Power of Sleep

This was originally published in the “Career Hacks” column of a client’s internal newsletter; shared with permission.    

We know that pilots have to be well rested for safety. But the rest of us also need enough sleep to accomplish our daily work – and make our careers thrive.

It’s not surprising that being perpetually tired makes you less productive. One study proved that the longer you’re awake, the slower your work pace. And it’s cumulative – getting inadequate sleep regularly makes performance worse over time. Feel like you’re too busy to sleep? Your reduced productivity means you likely would have been better off spending the time sleeping. Beyond simple productivity, however, sleep also affects your problem solving, decision making, and creativity.

Sleep plays a role in the big picture of your career, too. Getting less than six hours of sleep each night can lead directly to stress-related exhaustion, a Swedish study showed. Even your salary is vulnerable to sleep: just one extra hour of sleep each week can result in almost a 5 percent increase in wages over the long run, according to a study from Williams College.

Alarm clockTo sleep more and better, start with simple changes morning and night.

In the morning, don’t hit the snooze button. Sleeping in very short increments cuts back on the restorative power sleep should have. Make getting up easier by moving your alarm clock across the room and programming your coffee maker to greet you with its enticing aroma.

At night, step away from the smartphone. Turn off anything with a screen 30 minutes before you go to bed. The blue light from screens makes it harder for your brain to fall asleep and stay asleep. Also consider keeping your phone in another room so message alerts don’t disrupt you.

Just as you recharge your devices at night, take that same time to recharge your brain.

Read more about how sleep can boost your career (and your general well-being):


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