Why Sleep Is Critical to Your Career
We’ve all heard that sleep is crucial to our lives. We already know that we need sleep in order to wake up feeling clear every morning instead of groggy. Yet, for some reason, many of us are still not getting enough rest.
We all know sleep is good for us, but sometimes you just feel the need to stay up a little bit later in order to wind down from the day. Or possibly, you’re experiencing a difficult time sleeping because you feel anxious after a hard day at the office.
Well, I’m here to tell you that sleep can help you improve your work life by making you feel sharp, eliminating feelings of burnout, and by making you feel less stress in general. As such, it’s time to reconsider our stance on sleep, not just so that we don’t feel groggy, but so we can excel at our careers.
Sleep Helps Your Memory
When you’re working hard to learn new strategies at work, the last thing that you want is to feel like you’re not grasping the ideas as quickly as you want to. If you feel like you’re having a hard time recalling information relayed to you in the workplace on a day to day basis, it could be because of your sleep habits.
It’s not just related to standard sleep either, we’re specifically talking about deep sleep. When your brain is fully restful and is able to drift into REM sleep, that is when your brain actually works on secreting hormones that specifically aid in memory retention. You may have heard the phrase “sleep on it” before and that’s quite a true phrase. When your body is able to get to those deep sleep stages, your brain takes your memories from the day and transfers them into long term storage, which makes them easier to recall going forward.
This means after you’ve learned a new technique at work or you had a big meeting and you want to remember all the information that was shared, it’s a good idea to try to get some really good sleep that night. You’ll feel fresh and ready to work of course, but you’ll also impress your boss by what a fast learner you are. Your brain will have already processed and stored what you did the day before and you’ll be completely ready for something new. Let’s face it, we all hate that groggy, still mentally hurting from the day before feeling. So, let’s break the cycle.
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Sleep Helps Prevent Burnout
Sleep keeps you fresh, and not only in the obvious ways like giving you energy and helping you focus. It also helps your brain to prioritize and compartmentalize things properly, which helps save you from burnout.
A consistent complaint many of us hear from friends, family, and co-workers is the fact that we are all burnt out. We work a lot and feel like we never have enough time to properly decompress after a long week. Well, sleep is a key component in why we feel this way. When we don’t give ourselves enough time to rest, or we’re not having peaceful rest, we start the day already feeling like we’re counting down the minutes until we can clock out.
For those of us determined to advance in our careers, this is a big problem. You don’t want to show your bosses that you don’t have the motivation to do your job to the best of your ability. Especially if you’re already taking on additional or advanced tasks in order to get where you want to be, you really need to be able to start the day with a clean slate. You want to show your superiors that you can do all of the necessary work that’s required at the next level in your career. As such, you deserve to begin your day fresh instead of feeling like you’re still struggling from the day before.
Sleep Reduces Stress
It’s no surprise that our jobs make us stressed out from time to time (or sometimes all of the time), but would you be surprised to know that a big chunk of that stress isn’t coming from your job — it’s because of poor sleep. That’s right, a lack of sleep can actually increase levels of the stress hormone (cortisol) in our bodies.
Studies have shown that bodies that get restful sleep consistently are able to clear out some of that excess cortisol lingering in the body. Those who regularly sleep poorly show significant increases in stress hormones inside the body. When you have more cortisol than usual in your brain, you wake up and already feel stressed before you’ve accomplished anything.
It’s those days when you’re not quite sure why you’re stressed, you just are. You feel like you’ve got so much to do and not enough time to do it. You don’t feel prepared to tackle your daily tasks and it’s all just becoming way too much to handle. Taking the time to get a good night’s sleep will help you with that. When you wake up feeling rested, your hormones will feel more balanced and you’ll feel ready to buckle down and get things done.
As you can see, your body truly needs shutdown time in order to keep its balance. Sleep is required for so many things that are essential to your career performance. Your ability to be adaptable and a fast learner, your daily work endurance, and your overall levels of day to day stress are all affected your sleep. So, if you feel like your career is suffering from a lack of sleep, it’s time to drink some tea, read a good book, and invest in a super comfy pillow — get some much needed rest because you deserve it!
Trisha is a writer from Boise, ID. She writes on a variety of topics such as personal finance, beauty, veganism, mental health, and more. Connect with her on Twitter.