How much does a lack of sleep affect job performance? According to one large recent study, more than you think.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, healthy adults should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, with a recommended range of between seven to eight hours. However, research they conducted revealed that the professionals surveyed averaged only six hours and 28 minutes.
While an extra 30 minutes of shut-eye might not seem like much, the effects of this sleep deficit were notable. Many survey respondents reported poorer workplace performance due to tiredness, with over half admitting to struggling to stay focused in meetings, taking longer to complete tasks, and finding it challenging to generate new ideas. Along with a lack of focus and diminished creative capacities, participants also indicated a reduced motivation to learn and be less able to manage competing demands.
Getting more sleep to do your best work at the office may be easier said than done, however. Many American adults report suffering from at least occasional insomnia, and as hard as they try simply can’t seem to get to sleep to get those seven hours they need.
There are all kinds of causes of insomnia – everything from eating too late at night or drinking too much caffeine or alcohol before bed to nagging aches and pains or plain old stress and worry. Whatever the cause though, being unable to get a good night’s sleep can become a real problem.
Medications are rarely the answer though. Sleep medications can be very addictive and even those that are designed not to be have been found to have some rather unpleasant side effects. None of them are designed for long-term use either, so those searching for a real answer to their insomnia must turn to other alternatives.
Whatever else you try though there are some basic lifestyle changes you can make that are a great start on the road to better sleep. Here is a little about some of them:
Create a Better Bedroom
Although our bedrooms are supposed to be a haven for rest and relaxation often they are not. All too often we put a television in the bedroom and the PC has become a bedroom fixture over recent years as well. Neither of these belong there though and only serve as a distraction.
Your bedroom should be a quiet place, easily darkened so you can fall asleep more easily and not kept too hot as becoming overheated wakes many people when they do finally go to sleep. Working to create a better bedroom is a simple fix that should be the first one you try.
Change Your Eating Habits
People’s busy schedules have changed the way they eat, and many people do not have time to have dinner until well into the evening. That can be terrible for your chances of getting a good night’s sleep though. If possible, try to consume your last meal of the day by 7pm to avoid digestive problems adding to your insomnia woes.
You should also avoid caffeine in the evening as well. While most people may not drink coffee in the evening, they do consume soda and most sodas contain as much caffeine, if not more, than a cup of coffee.
Establish a Nighttime Routine
When you were a kid, chances are you had a bedtime routine. A bath maybe, then Mom or Dad read you a book before lights out and time for sleep. Re-establishing a regular nighttime routine as an adult can help combat insomnia as well.
It really does not matter too much what that routine is as long as it is one that is relaxing to you personally, whether that involves having a glass of warm milk and a cookie before bedtime or reading a book for a while or something else. The idea is to train your body to learn what time it needs to rest. It may take a few weeks, but this is often a very effective home health insomnia remedy.
When to Seek Help
Lifestyle changes like these and simple home remedies work great for some people but there are occasions when insomnia has an underlying medical cause. These can range from the nagging aches and pains that you try to ignore during the day but cannot escape at night, headaches that just never seem to go away and more.
Before you begin relying on Tylenol PM as the only way to get some sleep schedule an appointment with a doctor, as many of these issues can be resolved, without the need for painful procedures or tons of medications, allowing you to finally get that great night’s sleep you need so badly.