Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation And How It’s Killing Your Career
Sleep not only helps us feel healthy and energetic, it also serves a biological function.
During sleep, our brain removes toxic proteins from neurons, revitalizing our brain for peak performance the next day.
Here are the most common symptoms of sleep deprivation to help you decide if you’re sleep deprived:
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
- You are impulsive and easily irritable
- You can’t recall things or think clearly
- You find it hard to make decisions
- You cannot move properly: Motor skills get affected
- You are over-reactive, can’t handle emotions
- You abruptly fall asleep in meetings, while driving.
If you test positive on the symptoms of sleep deprivation mentioned below, use the solutions that follow to fix your sleep and feel energetic again.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
You Cannot Perform Well
We need sleep to function well. Without it, we’re running on fumes and are at the risk of screwing up important tasks at work. American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that healthy adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep and recommend sleeping for 7-8 hours every night.
So if you don’t sleep long enough, you are unable to think clearly, solve complex problems or recall from memory, and this affects your performance at work.
Your Health is Affected
Physical effects of sleep deprivation: Sleep deprivation can cause many kinds of health problems such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. And the excess cortisol produced weakens our immune system, making us more susceptible to such serious diseases.
Even one night of poor sleep leads to considerable effects on how you function during the day. If you sense any of the symptoms of sleep deprivation mentioned above, know that it’s time to make different lifestyle choices.
There is Enough Time!
Without your physical health, no amount of work is going to help you succeed. Moreover, many productivity experts including Tim Ferriss have stated that doing less with high intensity is something better than doing a lot haphazardly.
Parkinson’s law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
The greatest performers understand that stress and lack of time is a story that people tell themselves. Instead of working a lot, work only on the extremely important within a dedicated time period. See also the Pareto Principle which guides you to work less and achieve more.
How to Fix Your Sleep
1. Don’t take sleeping pills
Sleeping pills may seem effective at first, but in reality, they disturb your natural sleep cycle. Anything that you take to sedate yourself at night, including alcohol, disturb the restoration process of brain.
Giving up sleeping pills is easier said than done. If this is the case, you can try other strategies such as meditating, eliminating coffee, staying away from technology (blue light) at night and having a consistent relaxation routine.
2. Don’t Drink Coffee After Lunchtime
People who work round the clock often rely on stimulants such as coffee to keep going through the day. The truth is that coffee may help you feel awake for a while but it’s not healthy in the long-run.
Don’t drink more than three cups of coffee a day. And don’t drink coffee after noon. This is because coffee taken after noon remains in your body till late night. If you sense any of the symptoms of sleep deprivation, take a short nap instead of going for that cup of joe.
3. Don’t Use Electronics At Night
The blue light from laptop, PC, or smartphone can disturb our natural sleep rhythm. This is because our body uses cues such as light exposure and timing of food to set our internal sleep clock.
This is why camping is a great way to reset your body clock. When you’re out all day, you get the right light exposure at the right time and studies show that it fixes your sleep within one day.
4. Wake Up At The Same Time Each Day
Irregular sleep schedule can disturb the natural rhythms of our body. Rhythm means that our body produces melatonin when it’s time to sleep and increases hormone levels when it’s time to wake up. For such body rhythms to work, you need to wake up at the same time every day.
To accomplish this, set an alarm for the same time every day and resist the temptation to snooze and keep sleeping.
5. Have A Relaxing Evening Routine
Doing intense, stimulating activities before bedtime can hamper your sleep cycle. So it’s necessary to have a relaxation routine that doesn’t involve watching TV, internet surfing and using laptop or smartphone.
Here are some ideas for a relaxation routine:
- Read a book
- Take a warm shower and spend time with family
- Write a gratitude journal entry
- Drink herbal tea
- Listen to soothing music
6. Take Naps
Creating the right sleep routine may take some time. Meanwhile, there’s a solid tool you can use if you sense any of the symptoms of sleep deprivation: naps.
Taking naps is better than drinking coffee because coffee decreases brain function while napping increases it. 15-20 minutes of nap gives you a quick energy boost. Longer naps, of 30-60 mins, are good for enhancing memory recall and creativity. And 60-90 minutes of nap facilitates REM sleep and helps in restructuring neural connections and solving creative problems.