We all want to perform at our best at work. And we are constantly looking for ways to do that – through training, getting better organized, working longer hours. But there is often one thing that is overlooked in this drive for performance enhancement, something that is just as important – if not more important – than the other steps we take.
That something is sleep. Simply put, sleep is essential for peak performance. Lack of sleep may not be debilitating at first. Our thinking may be a little slower, our memory a little hazy, our body a little more fatigued. But if we continue to shortchange ourselves on sleep, the negative effects quickly mount. Without adequate sleep, we cannot process and store the memories made during the day.
When we are busy, overloaded with work, sleep is usually the first casualty. Here are few tips to make sure you are getting enough sleep so that your brain is working at its best.
Determine how much sleep you need.
Most people need between seven and nine hours a night, but this can vary depending on the individual. There are ways of determining if you are getting enough sleep – you should feel reenergized when you wake up, you should not need an alarm to awaken, you should feel sharp all day, you should not fall asleep as soon as you lie down at night.
If you are not getting enough sleep, you need to gradually increase the amount until you feel well rested in the morning.
Take some time to relax before turning in.
Do something that will begin to help you wind down in the evening. It could be something like turning down the lights or listening to soft music. Turn it into a habit, something you do routinely before going to bed. This has been shown to improve the quality of sleep.
If you are not asleep in ten minutes, get up and do something.
If you lie in bed longer than ten minutes ruminating about things, your mind begins to associate bed with brooding rather than sleeping, making it harder to fall asleep. By getting up and doing something else – such as reading – you prevent your mind from forming this association.
Stay up until you feel fatigued and ready to sleep. This way, your mind will associate bed with sleeping.