I’m a night crawler. Not because I can’t sleep at night, but I choose not to sleep more at night. Before rolling your eyes at me, I know that it’s a bad habit, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. I’m very open-minded, and not rigid but this seems to be one bad habit that seems hard to break.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suffering from insomnia. I know this because I sleep very well at night any time I want to – especially during those times when I have no work to do. In my case, it’s all about not having deadlines and not having any urgent work to do.
As a writer, I need absolute silence before I can come up with something meaningful. This is not peculiar to every writer, this is just me. So, I’m more productive at night.
You Need to Sleep — Day or Night
But there is a caveat, to work well at night, I’ve got to sleep well – at least 7 to 8 hours – during the day. Unfortunately, the world does not work this way. The world is awake in the day and asleep at night. So, everyone expects you to work in the day and sleep in the night. It’s nature.
No one cares about my world so long it doesn’t interfere with theirs. And life must go on. So, sometimes, I get my complete dose of sleep during the day and sometimes I get an incomplete dose.
On those days of incomplete sleep during the day, my body tends to compensate for it at night. What this means is that I wasted a whole day without working! This on its own is disaster and also reduces my productive time by 24 hours straight. Thinking about all these lost hours alone stresses me and make me highly irritable.
Now, imagine these happening on consecutive days. That’s hell. After losing many productive hours, I decided to try working during the day. Therefore, I adjusted my biological clock to its default state.
I started sleeping around 10pm every day and wake around 6am in the morning. Sometimes, I wake up earlier depending on my state of mind the night before. And sometimes, I wake up late – say 7am. Not more than that.
Reduce Lost Productive Time with Regular Sleep
Because of this change, the number of productive time lost has reduced considerably. I got to learn that it’s more productive to work more during the day and sleep well at night than doing otherwise.
I’ve got to admit that sometimes, I still work late into the night but I balance things out on weekends.
Sleep is one single important factor that can have a lasting effect on your performance. It’s a very important part of our lives – which a consistent lack of can cause health issues. Many studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and obesity, depression, inflammatory diseases, and a decrease in productivity.
Many executives and employees are getting by on little or no sleep in this technologically-driven fast paced world. With the push to give in more at work, the next big idea, to be ruthless in climbing the ladder of success and the apparent lack of time to achieve our “larger than life” goals, something should give.
Most times, it’s our sleep life that suffers. But the truth is, sleep isn’t a luxury. It has become important now, more than ever, to find the time to get quality sleep and sleep properly.
Here are some ways cutting back on sleep can hamper your productivity and even harm you.
#1. Sleep deprivation can hinder your brain power and productivity
A short night sleep has such effects like shorter attention span, bad moods, reduced productivity and a slowed reaction time. Brain imaging methods reveal why sleep deprivation can lead to irrational emotional responses. The amygdala – an area deep in the brain – is our emotional control centre.
When sleep deprived participants were shown emotionally negative images, activity levels in the amygdala were as much as 60% higher than those who were well rested. To ensure good reaction to issues, and to increase your problem-solving abilities, it’s essential for you to sleep well in the night.
#2. Your creativity suffers
Creativity is very important to career men and women. It’s the bedrock for problem solving. Lack of a good sleep at night can severely disrupt many duties of the hippocampus in the brain. This means that you’ll have less ability to conceptualize ideas.
Sleep loss also makes your speaking and writing skills deteriorate. It makes you less efficient at just about every task and in general, creates a dull version of yourself with delayed response reaction to events around you.
#3. Your memory doesn’t perform optimally
To make your memory perform at an optimal level – especially your short-term memory – you need to sleep more. The functional magnetic resonance imagery (FMRI) scans of brain activity in sleep–deprived persons, trying to perform even very simple tasks, shows momentary lapses of functioning in several important regions.
Lack of a good sleep affects your ability to think logically and critically – making it difficult to assimilate, and analyse new information. When you’re sleepy, your brain works in a completely different way from when it’s well rested.
In fact, some parts of your brain won’t work at all when you are sleepy and tired. FMRI images show that sleep deprived brains have much less activity in the right hippocampus, which translates to you losing memory which could stretch into months.
#4. Lack of sleep exacerbates stress
If you deliberately work late into the night continuously thereby piling hours of sleep debts, your stress levels, anxiety, and coping skills will be on a drastic decline. Sleep loss leads to amygdala activation, the area of your brain involved in rage and aggression, feelings of not being overwhelmed, and an increase in worry, frustration and nervousness.
You may collapse under very little pressure. Stress produces sleep loss, sleep loss produces stress. It’s a vicious cycle you don’t want to be caught up in. The more rested you are, the more alert and less stressed you are.
#5. Inadequate sleep alters your mood
You must have noticed you’re usually crankier on days when you don’t get enough sleep. This is because your mood is one of the very first traits to be affected by sleep loss. You will have more mood shifts, be more irritable and be prone to depression. Just losing one night of sound sleep will lower your threshold for anger.
You can lose friends, upset loved ones, foil negotiations, and make unnecessary enemies. This has a huge impact on your creativity as the possibilities of you making costly mistakes and ruining business relationships are endless. It’s in the best interest of yourself and everyone around you to ensure you always sleep well at night – ALWAYS!