Do you think that sleep costs you precious time, time that you could spend being productive? Think again.

It’s commonly believed that the most successful people in the world survive on little sleep. However, it has been proven that low levels of time spent on those important Z’s can impact your health, both physical and mental, and even take a hit at your productivity. Suggesting that a sensible night’s sleep could do you the world of good.

According to the NHS, most of us need around 8 hours of sleep per night on average. So to slip below that is doing yourself a disservice.

Of course, getting enough sleep is easier said than done when you’re trying to balance a strong work week, healthy social life, family and quality solo time.

But, by aiming to enjoy eight precious hours of shut eye, here’s what could happen:

Increased Productivity

First and foremost, a lack of sleep costs. It leads to lower productivity at work, totalling a number of lost work days over a year. This means that getting more sleep could actually help you get more done at work, contrary to what you might have initially thought. Yes, you might have been in work for longer hours but if your brain isn’t performing at its full capacity then you’re essentially wasting time.

However, the amount of sleep required continues to be debated, but it is generally agreed that people at the extremes of the sleep distribution, i.e. short (less than 5 hours) and long (more than 9 hours) sleepers, are subject to cognitive deficits and accelerated cognitive ageing, explaining why 8 is the magic number.

Immune System Boost

As the weather starts to turn, the immune system may be affected more easily than usual, sleep is always helpful in combating illnesses. Introducing an earlier bedtime routine and giving the body ample time to rest will set you up for any working week.

Reduced Stress Levels 

A regular sleep pattern can reduce stress, as well as aid positive mental well being. A consistent routine is said to help lower stress levels and inflammation to the cardiovascular system, which can also decrease pressure on the heart, preventing the development of heart conditions. From a mental wellbeing perspective, research suggests that sleep loss is linked to depression and anxiety, as those affected often report poor sleep quality.

However, you can compensate from a lack of sleep, simply by doing it more.

The NHS recommends adding an extra hour of sleep over the weekend initially, by going to bed when tired and sleeping in until you naturally wake. Other advice also looks at switching from caffeinated products after 2pm. Caffeine remains in the body much longer than most realise, and has an average half-life of five to seven hours, meaning that your caffeine top up in the afternoon could be affecting you a lot later than you think!

So, by sleeping more, you’re not only getting the rest your body needs, but boosting your performance during the day, which can contribute to meeting the steps to success at work. So to answer our question, yes, you can have it all.

Aimee Owens

Aimee Owens

Community Associate

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