Not getting enough sleep regularly has major implications for your health and ability to perform on the job. To learn more about how sleep affects us, we turned to Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute. He told us that “lack of sleep can manifest itself in erratic behaviour, short tempers, and bad decision-making.”
Sleep-deprived workers are more prone to exhibiting erratic behaviour, have difficulty remembering details, and don’t deal as well in high-pressured situations—such as meetings or new business pitches.
And it’s getting worse nowadays because of technology usage.
“Smart phones, tablets, laptops, televisions and even video games have all affected our sleep,” Oexman said. “Years ago, people left work at the end of the day and there was no work after that. These days, people go to bed with their cell phones.”
“In a sense, every employee from every profession is ‘on call’ 24/7, expected to respond to phone calls and emails even in the middle of the night.”
Furthermore, those who think that putting off just one or two hours of sleep every night doesn’t make a difference, should reconsider: You’re more prone to Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, heart disease and risk of infections.
And young adults in their 20’s are experiencing earlier signs of ageing attributed to sleep loss.
How do you know you’re not getting enough sleep? Oexman told us you should pay attention to how many times you hit the snooze button. If it’s more than once, you’re not getting your ideal amount of rest.
“Alarms should be there to remind you to wake up, not wake you up after six snooze hits.”
To solve this, Oxeman said you should set limits on technology usage before bedtime.
“Your bedroom should be reserved for sleep, sex, and nothing else. There’s no excuse—if your cell phone is your alarm clock, then buy a $5 alarm clock and solve the problem!”
Also, stick to a bedroom routine and participate in relaxing activities beforehand—take a hot bath, read a book in low-light—before shut eye time, and make sure your room is cool—65 to 68 degrees—and that no light is visible in your room.
Oxeman shared with us one more technique that will make it easier for you to get out of bed and feel better throughout the day. He said when your alarm goes off, hit the snooze button once and stretch until your alarm goes off again. You’ll be on your way to being healthier and making smarter decisions at work.
If you have ever been around animals you will see that they stretch before they start chasing something. If you can turn on the lights without getting out of your bed, do so and start stretching your back. This helps prevent injury to your back after being immobile for so many hours while you’re sleeping. Do these stretches until your alarm goes back off.
With this routine, Oxeman said you’ll start feeling the difference within two weeks. We’ve included the stretches below:
Photo: Sleep to Live Institute
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