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Catch Some Z's and Feel Better at Work

A poor night’s sleep may not only affect your productivity at work—it can also have adverse health effects.

Although the average recommended amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night, the average worker gets six hours and 28 minutes of sleep, according to a recent study of 1,060 participants. Two of the top reported side effects of sleep loss were a lack of attention and taking longer to complete tasks. Both suggest that sleep loss may negatively affect productivity.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your heart rate increases, you lose your ability to concentrate, your short-term memory suffers and your physical performance may be impaired. These side effects are more than just a nuisance—they can be a job hazard, especially for those working with heavy machinery or power tools, or in dangerous work zones. Diminished concentration increases the risk for accidents. 

Good sleep is as important for your health as proper nutrition and exercise. Getting a good night’s sleep restores both your physical and mental health. It also helps your immune system to fight off diseases and to recover more quickly when you get a cold or flu. The effects of a lack of sleep, such as feeling irritable and not working at your best, are well known, but they also include profound physical health consequences. Without enough sleep, you might experience:

  • Slower reactions, a cloudy mind or a bad mood
  • Weakening of body defenses, which increases your risk for developing infections, high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Increased appetite, overeating and obesity

Getting enough sleep is especially important during the cold winter months, when a lack of sunlight can make people feel more fatigued and sluggish. 

You can get more sleep by going to bed earlier in the evening. Set a regular bedtime to get into a routine, and wake up at the same time every day. Take naps to make up for any lost sleep. Getting enough rest is vital for a safe, healthy day, and will make you more productive in the workplace.

With that in mind, the following tips can help ensure a good night’s sleep:

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine. Doing so will help program your body to sleep better. Go to bed at the same time every night, and create a habit of winding down beforehand by doing activities such as reading a book or taking a bath.
  • Create a restful sleeping environment. TVs and other electronic gadgets can interfere with your ability to wind down.
  • Don’t overindulge before bedtime. Too much food or alcohol before bedtime can interfere with sleep patterns. While alcohol may help you fall asleep, it can interrupt your sleep later in the night.

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