(if you’re over 18)
Those of us in the productivity mindset often want to make the most of every hour we have but how much sleep do we need to make the most of those hours. As we grow older we need less and less sleep starting from an infant needing all the way up to about 17 hours of sleep once we are over the age of 18 we need between 7 and 9. The question then becomes what trade-off do we get if we reduce the amount we sleep and are able to work longer, will we be more productive or due to lack of sleep will we just take more time to accomplish the same things?
There are a number of factors which can be used to assess our productivity for this example we will look at some of those which are affected by sleep.
Sleep has a strong effect on memory and without proper sleep, it is hard to fully remember what you were doing, so we can see that for our productivity if we aren’t able to remember what we were working on yesterday then we won’t be as effective today. If we aren’t able to remember the minutiae of what we’re doing then things can fall through the cracks so although working for an additional 3 hours might seem productive, a number of things might be missed the next day, therefore, causing us to have to go back over the work we did rather than remember completely what we had done and where we were on the project. On top of this, a lack of sleep also causes issues with learning therefore if our goal is to learn new skills and we stay up and sacrifice sleep to try to learn new skills it will take us longer to learn new skills rather than getting a good night’s sleep and starting again the next day. (see more)
It can be observed that with a lack of sleep comes a lack of ability to concentrate on tasks, to multitask, and to listen and accurately receive all information. These factors coupled with a slower reaction time mean that after a night where we have had a lack of sleep we will be less effective at the task in front of us and therefore less productive than if we had had a full night’s sleep. Also if we are in a high-risk situation it means we can potentially lose a great deal by making a mistake, for example if we are in the financial markets and suffering from a lack of sleep the compounding factors mean we will not remember in depth what happened yesterday we will react slower to the information we are receiving and we may not fully grasp or understand the information we are receiving, because of this we can make the wrong call which could be very costly. (See More)
In most circumstances we need to interact with other people to be our most productive unless our work is entirely siloed then there will be a lot of interpersonal communication during each day. Lack of sleep has been shown to have negative effects on mood, sleep test participants have reported to feel more angry, sad, and stressed with a lack of sleep. While some people can push through a lack of sleep and keep themselves in a good mood this is not the common response, so while we might be trying to be more productive by working through the night this will have a run on effect for our relationships with the people around us and can potentially damage important relationships which may take a lot more time and effort to rebuild then if we had just gotten a good night’s sleep. (see more)
All-in-all everybody is going to be different in terms of how much sleep you individually need however what we can see from these above factors is if you aren’t getting enough for your body and your brain, you will start to notice these effects and they will have a negative effect on your productivity, by understanding the amount of sleep you need you can create a schedule which will allow you to be the most productive.
Most importantly, what are some easy ways that we can improve our sleep and therefore improve our productivity. As always keeping the solution fairly simple will be the easiest way for us to succeed with it, here are some simple ways to start boosting your sleep tonight.
Steps to Better Sleep
1, Set a Sleep Schedule, have a set go to sleep and wake up time, adhere to this every day, even on weekends. Try a manageable sleep window between 7-9 hrs
2, Exercise Daily, even if it’s a small bit of exercise it will help you get a better sleep.
3, Turn Off Electronics, try to shut off all your electronics about an hour before your bedtime. If they must be on, ensure they have a blue light filter enabled. Maybe meditate, read a book or write before sleep to create a routine, enabling you to fall asleep faster.
See some more tips and info here
After implementing just these 3 tactics you will hopefully begin seeing some productivity improvements in just weeks, you won’t be working longer, just working more efficiently and effectively. Enjoy