Let’s talk about sleep and getting more done. Our first thought when faced with a tight deadline or a large project is to cut back on sleep, so we have more time to work on it. In mathematical terms it makes sense. If you cut your sleep by 2 hours per night that theoretically gives you two extra hours to get your work done.
The problem is that productivity doesn’t quite work that way. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your brain doesn’t get enough time to rest, recharge, and process information. In turn, that means that you’re not on top of your game the next day. You end up getting tired more quickly, feeling foggy and are more prone to make mistakes. None of these are good things, and all of them put a damper on your overall productivity.
Making sure you get enough quality sleep is one of the best ways to increase productivity. You’ll wake up refreshed the next morning and in the right frame of mind to rock your to-do list. Of course, saying that you should get enough sleep is one thing. Making it happen is quite another. If you have bad sleeping habits now, it will take a little work. I promise you can get there though, and more importantly, it will be well worth the effort.
The best place to start is with a good bedtime routine. You need to give your body and mind a little time to transition from daytime activities to sleeping. The most important and most helpful thing is to set a specific to go to bed and stick to it even on weekends and days off. Our bodies are designed to work in certain rhythms or routines and getting used to a certain bedtime promotes better sleeping habits as well.
Your environment will also promote good sleep. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and most importantly distraction free. Get rid of the TV and don’t bring any electronic devices (including and particularly your phone) to bed with you. Also, limit your screen time in the evening and avoid it at least an hour before bedtime. The artificial light from these screens keeps your body and mind from realizing that it’s time to get sleepy.
Following these simple tips will get you started. From there come up with your soothing bedtime routine. It may include an hour of reading, enjoying a cup of herbal tea, having a chat with your partner, or taking a warm bath. Find your bedtime routine, stick with it, and watch your sleep patterns and habits improve. With that, you’ll notice an increase in productivity and quality of life.