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Sleeping on it


5 more minutes (P1)

Looking at the studies

Not getting enough sleep can create a slew of problems that can negatively affect your performance; at work and in other aspects of your life. Studies show that depriving yourself of sleep can undermine self regulatory behavior such as the ability to maintain focus, resist temptation and anticipate obstacles. One study identified that on days people receive quality sleep, they  procrastinate less, although it did not confirm that people who receive less sleep procrastinate more.(1)

The amount of sleep an individual needs varies from person to person but on average, it is recommended that you clock in at least seven or more hours of sleep per day. A joint study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University, discovered that from a group of forty eight participants, those that slept for eight hours per night showed no cognitive decline while  those who received six hours of sleep or less were performing given tasks  poorly with each passing day. The study concluded with two important findings - the first being the negative effects of insufficient sleep accumulate over time. The second is that you tend to be oblivious to your own decline in performance although it may be apparent to those around you. (2)

A person sleeping in a room with natural lighting

While lighting is essential for a good image, it is detrimental to your sleep quality (P2)


What can you do?

In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to take 2 things into account things - the quantity of sleep you need (measured in terms of hours per day) and the quality of that sleep.

But first, you need to understand that sleep patterns are not the same for everybody. Your sleep-wake pattern, also known as your chronotype, is governed by your biological clock, which in turn is regulated by the environment. Your chronotype can also be influenced by genetics creating a vast array of sleeping patterns across individuals. By increasing  your exposure to sunlight during the day, minimizing white light before sleep, and practicing mindfulness meditation you can help regulate your sleep patterns and achieve that much needed restful sleep,crucial for the optimal functioning of your mind and body.

There most likely may have been instances where you were not able to receive enough sleep during a busy work week and caught up on your sleep deficit over the weekend. Although this is important and does help negate tiredness and inflammation levels that arise due to lack of sleep, it is not effective at combating cognitive decline. The only way to ensure you maintain high performance levels is by getting that much needed shut eye throughout your week and not just on the weekends.

Sleep plays a massive role in the way we function and getting the right amount of quality sleep can not only improve performance but greatly enhance the quality of your life.

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