A restless night without much sleep is no fun at all. It can have knock-on effects in everything you do the following day, particularly if you have to work. But how much do we really understand about the effects of poor sleep on our working life? And what steps can be taken to improve this?
Bed and furniture suppliers Time4Sleep recently conducted research into the effects of poor sleep, asking 2,000 UK residents about their sleeping habits and how they felt about work – providing some interesting conclusions on the link between the two. Time4Sleep also asked a series of sleep experts for advice on getting a good night’s sleep, providing some useful tips of getting that much needed rest.
What Effect Does Sleep Have on Your Performance at Work?
Keeping You Motivated
It probably comes as no surprise that well-slept people are more motivated. In fact, of the respondents who rated their motivation at work between eight and ten (out of ten), 49% also rated their sleep in the same range. On the other end of the scale, only 3% of those who rated their sleep between one and three said that they felt above a seven when it came to motivation in the office. Those energetic and motivated types in the workplace are likely the ones getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep science coach Jason Piper explains:
“Poor emotional regulation and impaired decision making might be affected by sleep. Sleep deprivation has been associated with reduced blood flow in the area of the brain responsible for attention, alertness, and cognitive processes such as self-control, emotional responses, and decision making.”
Making You Feel Positive
Much like motivation, feeling positive at work can stem from a good night’s shut-eye. The phrase ‘morning people’ can be explained by the results of the survey, as 49% of the people who said they felt positive in the morning had also rated their sleep between eight and ten. Alternatively, only 3% of those who rated their sleep between one and three said they felt positive.
To strengthen the correlation, you can look at those who say they feel negative first thing in the morning. Of those people, only 13% said their sleep was above an eight out of ten, helping to prove that being a ‘morning person’ has a lot to do with the quality of your sleep. The knock-on effect of this in the workplace means that those good sleepers are starting the day right.
Helping You Feel Satisfied in Your Career
Getting sufficient sleep gives you all the ingredients you need for a greater sense of happiness in your career. 40% of the people who said they’re happy in their career rated their sleep between eight and ten, compared to just 9% who rated it between one and three.
It’s clear that taking care of yourself and ensuring you get a good night’s sleep can play an important role in your happiness at work. But how do you guarantee this good sleep?
How Can You Improve Sleep?
There can be several reasons you’re struggling to get enough sleep at night, but don’t fear, there are also plenty of things that you can do to help improve this. As you lay awake in bed, you can often feel alone and like you’re the only person in the world awake but let the results of the Time4Sleep survey put your mind at ease – you’re not alone!
Kick Out the Cover-hogging Partner
Those of us who sleep next to our partner probably know the struggle of ‘duvet wars’ all too well, and this is supported by the research. The more cover-theft becomes a problem, the worse the quality of sleep. 25% of those who sleep for five hours or less have their covers stolen on a regular basis, compared to 18% who don’t.
Sleep on the Right Side
This may seem like an irrelevant point, but the survey showed there might be some science behind which side of the bed you sleep on and the quality of your sleep. 36% of people who slept on the right-side of the bed rated their sleep as eight or more out of ten, whereas only 29% of left-hand sleepers said the same.
Get in the Right Position
When you’re getting comfy in bed, there are things you can do to optimise your chances of a good sleep. Sleep expert Jason Piper told Time4Sleep:
“The ideal position is on your non-dominant side in a foetal position. You have to look back in our evolution to why this is the optimal position. When you are in the foetal position, your heart, internal organs, and reproductive organs are protected and have your dominate arm free for defending yourself. This allows the brain to feel secure and relax more on a subconscious level.”
Use Less Pillows
Getting your pillows right can be one of the trickiest parts of settling down in bed, and the research shows that you might want to cut down on the number of pillows you use. Only 41% of respondents who use three pillows said they get at least seven hours sleep, this increases to 49% with two pillows and 56% with one.
Forget the Tech
It’s becoming common knowledge that staring at electronic screens before bed is not conducive to good sleep. The research only serves to confirm this, with 49% of those who watch Netflix or TV saying they don’t get the minimum recommended seven hours of sleep. It’s not just TV viewing either, 48% of those who use smartphones and tablets before bed reported the same thing.
A good night’s sleep can make or break your working day, so ensuring that you’ve taken the steps to make this possible can make a big difference. Once you’ve got your routine perfect