Most of us understand that sleep is just as important for our health as exercise and eating a balanced diet. What you might not realise is just how much of an impact that a lack of sleep can have on your performance at work.
The amount of sleep that you need will vary from person to person, but if you are consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, you may start to notice the following:
Loss of concentration – If you frequently struggle to focus on your work, and find yourself missing things as they have slipped your mind, it could be down to tiredness.
Impact on decision-making – Bill Clinton once said: “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I made because I was too tired”. Repeated lack of sleep can cause cognitive impairment, so if you have an important meeting coming up or are in a position where you make a lot of important decisions, you should try and be well-rested for those moments.
Less efficient – By heading into the office early instead of getting more sleep, you might think you’ll have time to get more done, but in fact, if you have not had enough sleep to let your body recover you will be less efficient and less productive.
How to keep yourself awake in the office
If you’ve hit an afternoon slump, try one of these ideas:
Get outside- When you’re busy it seems like you have no choice but to eat lunch at your desk, but even a 10-minute break from the office can give you enough of a boost to make your afternoon more productive. Exposure to natural light is great for a midday wake up, as is exercise, so a quick walk around the block can make all the difference.
Ease off on the caffeine – It can be tempting to consume a lot of coffee when you’re tired at work, but drinking too much caffeine can then keep you from falling asleep at night. Try not to drink caffeine after 2pm – if you find it too hard cutting out hot drinks, try swapping to herbal teas.
Stay hydrated – Dehydration affects brain function, so keep a bottle of water at your desk and make sure to drink from it throughout the day, especially if you are craving sugary snacks as it is easy to mistake hunger for thirst.