When I first started working in the professional world, I often slaved away, working more than 12 hours a day. I was young…ger…. *smile*. I was sure I could make my way and discover my success, and the path I chose included some pretty late nights.
Sometimes I would stay up until 1am finishing a work project or doing planning for my clients. (Do you do this too? )
I remember some days feeling tired, worn out, like my brain was just moving slower than I would like. I would pour an extra cup of coffee, inhale that scent, and power through the fog, telling myself the time was worth it. Other days I felt fine and those are the days that kept me performing like this.
Fast forward 10+ years, and now I realize how much benefit comes from a clear mind, focused thoughts and the ability to come up with creative solutions and answers to challenges.
Curious about this, I did some research on what I had always accepted… that sacrificing my sleep is a way to squeeze more time into my day and get more done.
Have you believed this too? Have you followed industry leaders that have encouraged ‘getting up early’ to exercise, make headway on a project, etc?
The question is… what does skimping on our sleep really do for us?
In 2015 Matthew Gibson and Jeffrey Shrader conducted an experiment that revealed small changes to sleep patterns can have long term ramifications.* The study seemed to indicate that as little as 1 extra hour of sleep a week increased a person’s wage between 1.5% – 4.9%.
If we do a little math, at an annual income of $60,000, that’s like getting a $3,000 raise or being paid $58 an hour to sleep.
So… can YOU add 4.9% to Your Annual Salary in Just 1 hour/week?
Before we answer that, let’s find out how important is sleep?
- A one hour increase in average weekly sleep increases worker wages by 1.5% (Ulmer et al., 2009).
- A permanent one-hour increase in weekly average sleep increases average wage by 4.9%. (Tired doctors make more mistakes) (Ulmer et al., 2009).
- Tired students perform worse on tests (Taras and Potts-Datema, 2005).
- Poor sleep impairs health (Cappuccio et al., 2010).
How can getting more sleep have such an impact on our lives? (So much so that one extra hour a week could increase your salary by 4.9%! )
—>First of all, we when we get adequate sleep we are in a better mood.
——–> When we are in a better mood we tend to be more agreeable, and more able to come to mutually beneficial outcomes when leading or working with teams.
—————>We are also able to access creative thoughts more readily when well rested. Lack of sleep makes us feel foggy and disconnected so doing more than the basics can be a challenge.
Not only does sleep impact us positively, but even more importantly, lack of adequate rest opens the door for poor decision making. When we are tired, hungry, stressed or feeling depressed our critical faculty kicks in and we may make decision that are out of character or not congruent with our beliefs or values.
So then, what’s the magic number? I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and it’s still true, we all need about 8 hours of sleep a night. Getting 8 hours a night will likely make us more decisive, creative, energetic and engaged.
Here are some tricks to getting the most out of your sleep time:
1. Stop what you are doing before bed with enough time to actually get 8 hours of sleep.
Going to bed and falling asleep are not the same thing. Its easy to look at the clock as you walk into the bedroom and assume that you are getting enough sleep. If you are heading to bed at 10:30 pm, chances are you aren’t falling asleep until closer to 11pm or later. Are you really getting 8 hours?
2. Lower the temp – Our bodies rest better and have less of a tendency to wake in the middle of the night if we drop the temperature a few degrees.
Our core temperature drops while sleeping so cooler rooms are preferable while sleeping. Dr. Rachel Salas, MD, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in sleep medicine, cites a National Sleep Foundation study that puts the magic number at 65 degrees but 65-68 seems to be acceptable.
3. Stop using your computer & phone at least an hour before bed.
Research seems to indicate that tablets, phones and other digital stimuli engages a part of the brain that makes relaxing more difficult. Try turning off the TV and reading a book, listening to music or a podcast, or talking before bedtime.
4. Create a routine.
Sleeping habits are one of the most effective ways to get your body on a schedule. The more we create routine for our unconscious mind to rely on, the more we fall back to these patterns without effort. Try to pick a time to be in bed and stick to it, even on the weekend. Our bodies like patterns and creating a sleep pattern helps us to get the rest we need.
5. Lastly, break the myth.
If you’re like me you’ve been looking up to people for years who claim to get by on only a few hours of sleep a night. The conclusion for most of us is that if we give up sleep we’ll have more time to be productive.
…. But unfortunately, the reality is that sacrificing sleep makes you less effective at work and home.
Now you know! Now you have a choice to make …. 8 hours a night for you or less? For me, I have rearranged some things in my schedule to make sure I set my alarm early, put my phone down, and get my important daily sleep.
What about you… have you found this to be true for you? Or does stealing from sleep time still work for you? Tell me in the comments below…