It’s getting harder to deny the importance of sleep to our professional health. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the amount of sleep we get each night could also be directly related to our productivity. This might not surprise anyone, but when it comes time to turn out the lights, many of us choose to keep working instead of getting some much-needed shut eye.
So how is a busy professional supposed to get an adequate amount of sleep and still stay on top of work? Here are four strategies:
1. Know Yourself.
Everyone runs on a slightly different timetable. For example, are you a morning person or a night person? Optimize the time that you are at your best for work, and allow yourself to rest when you know it’s going to be difficult to be awake. That might mean going to bed a little earlier, or, if you know that you will never be able to wake up before 7, taking advantage of the night hours and allowing yourself to sleep in a bit.
2. Take a Power Nap.
If you’ve got some downtime, a quiet, dark room may benefit you more than another latte. The National Sleep Foundation recommends taking a 20 to 30-minute nap to increase alertness without causing grogginess.
3. Schedule a Recharge Once a Week.
Getting more than five hours of sleep each night may be impossible during the week, especially if you are a parent or have other responsibilities outside of work. Scheduling a re-charge day can help sustain you each week. Try to designate at least one recharge day a week in which you sleep in, go to bed a little earlier than usual or just take a long nap.
4. Enforce Some Device Downtime.
If you have a set bedtime each night, make it a rule to turn off your devices (laptop, cell phone, tablet) one hour before. This will not only help you get to bed on time, but also help you wind down and decompress after a long day.
Photo Credit: RelaxingMusic via Flickr