You’ve been there before. You went to bed on time and you’ve been getting the amount of sleep your body needs each night. But for some reason, you’re still dragging through the day. You don’t feel rested, and you have to push through to get anything done. You were even in danger of falling asleep during the team Zoom meeting earlier.
What you may not know is that even if you get the right amount of sleep, the quality of your sleep is just as important. As a matter of fact, Dr. Guy Leschziner says that many people experience sleep disruptions or difficulty going to sleep, citing four common sleep disruptors: insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and snoring.
All of these sleep disruptors can negatively affect the quantity and the quality of the sleep you’re getting, which changes how you show up at work. If you want to stay on the productivity track and be an asset to your team, high-quality sleep is crucial.
How sleep affects performance
The quality of your sleep has a direct impact on your performance in the workplace. The attentive focus with which you complete tasks, hold conversations, and problem-solve all make a difference in how successfully you’re able to give your best self to your projects and in collaborations with your team.
You already know what it’s like to not get enough sleep, feeling like a zombie trying to get through the next day—especially if you’re a parent. But you may not understand exactly how detrimental not getting enough sleep can be.
One study conducted in Sleep Health Reviews reports that insomnia puts you at risk for missing more work, not being engaged while working, decreased productivity, and lowered job satisfaction. Your contributions become diminished and over time, less valued.
Another study found that sleep disorders can affect memory and concentration while increasing the risk of accidents at work and/or during operating a vehicle. Furthermore, according to Stanford University, participants in a sleep-deprivation study that took place over a few weeks were significantly slower to respond to important data than their well-rested peers.
These findings are crucial because every day, you’re making important decisions for yourself, your company, and your team. They directly affect the well-being of everyone around you, as well as the success of the organization. It’s important to make sure you have both quantitative and qualitative sleep.
In addition, one study found that sleep disruptors can have significant effects on mood, not just cognitive and motor performance. This finding is just as important because sleep disruptors don’t just inhibit your memory and physical performance, they also alter how you process your emotions and relate to others.
The pandemic may be putting more pressure on employees and company leaders across various industries, as many unexpected disruptors emerge during this time. This level of stress may create or increase sleep interferences, negatively impacting your physical resiliency and mental capacity to problem solve and create quality work. To protect yourself against the negative side-effects of poor quantity or quality of sleep, create a sleep routine that can support you, and perhaps, speak with a sleep consultant if you are having extreme difficulty in feeling rested after a long night’s sleep.
Dr. Leschziner says that most people need structure in their sleep routine, advising, “Few people can fall asleep anywhere or any time and get the sleep experience that they need.” If you’re looking to become a high-performer in your workplace, it’s important to create a sleep routine that optimizes your deep (REM) sleep. This means you need to create a consistent routine in getting to sleep and waking at the same time (training your inner clock), limit stimulating substances a few hours before bed, and engage in relaxing activities before sleep.
A common contributing factor to sleep disruptors is alcohol which may help you get to sleep but it will not provide the quality or duration of sleep that one needs. Most people wake up groggy from alcohol-induced sleep. Other contributing factors are stimulants like caffeine and blue light. Studies show that blue light from your phone, tablet, and laptop can disrupt your circadian rhythm or sleep-and-wake cycle. As important, you need to create a daily ritual or relaxing atmosphere before bedtime that will promote your ability to naturally fall asleep. It may be reading a book, putting lavender oil on the soles of your feet, or meditating to take your mind off of the day.
By creating a sleep regimen that optimizes your sleep quantity and quality, you will be better prepared to achieve your goals and uplift others to do so. If you believe that your sleep issue may be more complicated and perhaps, it could be one of these common sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or snoring, you will want to see a sleep specialist who can help you address the underlying issue. Your long-term health depends on it.