Sleep and productivity – it’s no secret they’re linked. In fact, sleep deprivation impairs cognitive functioning and decision-making and is linked to anxiety, memory problems, daytime sleepiness, and higher levels of stress hormones, according to Tuck, a sleep health research and product review company.
To work smarter, you’ve got to sleep harder. With that goal in mind, here are five ways to improve your sleep quality:
- Hack your sleep schedule. Aim to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. Then, pay attention to how you feel to determine how much sleep you need. Working in 15-minute increments, add time each day until you’re clocking seven hours a night. Some adults do better at eight or nine hours, according to the Harvard Collaboration HelpGuide, so if you don’t feel great, keep adding minutes.
- Clean your bedroom of distractions. Whether you’re drawing the curtains, tidying up, turning down the thermostat, or replacing your mattress, do what you can to make the place where you sleep feel restful. According to the National Sleep Foundation, darkness lets your mind know that it’s time to sleep. Dim the lights in the hour leading up to bedtime and make sure your room is dark at bedtime.
- Put the devices away. Give yourself at least an hour to wind down before you nod off. If you have trouble relaxing, make a ritual out of bedtime: anchor that last hour with a couple simple activities that help you wind down. Again, routine is your body’s friend. Avoid electronics in the hour before bedtime as blue light can delay the body’s release of melatonin.
- Manage your worries. If you wake up anxious and have trouble falling back asleep, try these tips for drifting off again in our article on Stress Management Tips for the Workplace.
- Assess your progress. With enough sleep, you should have energy to easily manage your responsibilities and chase new pursuits. In other words, you’ll have the gumption to achieve more at work – and outside of work, too.
If you try the tips above and you find you’re still dragging, talk to your primary care physician. You may have a health condition that is impacting your ability to sleep.