Want to perform better at work? Then sleep better.

personal performance

I know what its like not to sleep.

When my daughter was six months old, I went back to work. The truth is, she did not sleep through the night till she was three.

For two and a half years, I operated on less sleep than anyone should have, so I speak from experience. Sleep matters.

Arianna Huffington Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Huffington Post, feels so passionately about it she started a sleep revolution. Her work is steeped deep in research and science, peeling back why sleep is essential to our well being and how we are operating in a sleep-deprived world.

Sleep is something we have done since the beginning of time. Our ancestors did it, every living and breathing needs it to survive and thrive. When we are asleep, our brains are at busy at work, restoring and renewing itself, a mixture of neurochemical and cognitive reactions.

So why does sleep matter to your work?

Sleep deprivation costs. The annual cost of sleep deprivation in the US is more than $63 billion in the form of absenteeism and reduced productivity.

You may be physically at work. But because of your lack of sleep, you are less effective. You are not as sharp, not as focused. You are not operating at your peak.

So if since the beginning of time, we have needed sleep in order to sustain human life, then why is it so hard in today’s modern day and age?

Our world is changing.

We walk around with devices in our pockets that connect us 24/7. They buzz, they beep, they urge us to check every email every message. We don’t switch off.

And that’s before we even begin to look at us. Throw in work deadlines, stress and in my case, a baby. One can see how we are skating so dangerously on thin ice.

So how can we do sleep better?

For starters, those with connectivity to their emails don’t feel the need to answer everything before you go to bed. Just because you can access it doesn’t mean you need to action it. I’m speaking to myself.

Perhaps your team can organise an internal ranking system for their emails. Things that need urgent action, things that can wait. You will find when you need to grade things, what feels urgent, might not be.

You can turn on the night switch in your smartphone. Instead of radiating a bright blue light it emits a warm yellow-based light. Set it up to automatically turn on every night. I discovered this a couple of years ago, and it has transformed the quality of my sleep.

And then finally, while its so easy to flick through your phone or turn the TV before bed, how about trying something else. Perhaps read a good book or run a warm bath. Get inspired to do something different and see how that affects the quality of your sleep.

Do you want to perform better at work, at life? Then sleep better.

Curated for you: What does balance mean?

If you want to take the next step in your career and do work differently, then hire a career coach. We work to help uncover your potential and help you to love the work you do.