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Why Sleep Can Have a Huge Impact on Productivity and Focus

When we were younger, it used to be “cool” to pull all-nighters to hand in that last-minute assignment before the deadline. Now it seems like we would give anything to push snooze one more time in the morning. Even though it’s engraved into our brains that adults need eight hours of sleep, somehow, there are days or weeks in our lives that those eight hours aren’t enough. We slowly start losing focus at work or school or suffer from physical symptoms such as migraines, body pain and digestive issues.

So if we’re all familiar with this constant cycle, why are we still spinning the hamster wheel? Focusing on your wellness or work wellness should include narrowing your sleep patterns. Analyzing how deep sleep you’re genuinely getting and how it’s impacting your life.

Did you know that sleep deprivation is known to decrease decision-making and problem-solving abilities? The more sleep we lose out on, the more tired we become throughout the day. This reflects how long we can focus while working and our ability to be “clear-headed.” Do you ever notice that you can hardly decide what to eat for breakfast or what outfit you should wear for your first zoom meeting first thing in the morning? Our brain struggles with making decisions because, like your physical body is waking up, so is your brain. If you’re constantly tired throughout the day, your brain struggles to stay awake. You become more dialed in on how nice a nap would feel than finishing your project that’s due tomorrow at noon.

Secondly, getting a good night’s rest can significantly impact your overall mood. Do you ever notice you’re more irritable than usual when you don’t get your full eight (or more) hours of sleep? Or maybe you’re more emotional or argumentative when you’re sleep-deprived? Having a better mood from getting restful sleep will make focusing at work easier and make tasks seem less overwhelming or boring.

So how exactly can you get a good night’s sleep and avoid that mid-day slump? First, it’s essential to understand that a long sleep doesn’t always mean restful sleep. Aiming to achieve a deep sleep instead of more hours of tossing and turning will help you feel more rested.

Some other things you can consider to achieve optimal rest at night is:

  • Avoid screens before bed (i.e. spending an additional hour on TikTok in bed). The blue light that our phone emits is stressful on our eyes and skin. Additionally, our phone means that our brain is working to focus on what content we’re receiving– meaningless wind-down time.

  • Make your room an oasis. Having a tidy space to wind down at the end of a day is crucial as it allows our brains to wind down more quickly. Also, it helps stress levels by not always having to clean your room (or say you will).

  • Pay attention to your diet. What you’re eating throughout the day will correlate with your sleep patterns. For example, eating an abundance of carbohydrates right before bed will result in less restful sleep as your body works to digest all the food.

  • Get your sweat on. Aiming to achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day is a great way to help you achieve a deeper sleep each night.

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