There’s nothing worse than hitting that afternoon doldrum when you may reach for several caffeinated beverages to keep you going. Your eyes are open, but you’re moving slower, not thinking clearly, and getting very little done. Is it any wonder that adequate sleep is vital to achieving a productive workday?
You would think that running a business from home would allow you sleep more, since you can cut the commute from the equation. But stress and other factors can get in the way of a good night’s rest, and that could be what’s standing in the way of your business reaching its full potential.
Sleep Lets the Brain Do Important Work
A recent BBC report details the importance of getting adequate sleep for a more productive workday. It specifically points out how, during proper rest, the brain completes proper functions to help you get through the rest of your day.
“Deep sleep sounds restful, but during it our brains are actually working hard,” the authors state. “One of the main things the brain is doing is moving memories from short-term storage into long-term storage, allowing us more short-term memory space for the next day. If you don’t get adequate deep sleep then these memories will be lost.”
Study authors also talked about the way that sleep helps us overcome stress. According to research, 77 percent of people experience regular stress. The two most common triggers are job pressure and money. If you’re building up a home business, you probably have a fair amount of stressors that can have an impact on your sleep.
The BBC report points out how getting enough rest can make all the difference in allowing your brain to recharge and overcoming stressful situations. “During REM sleep an extraordinary thing happens,” the authors continue.
“One of the stress-related chemicals in the brain, noradrenalin, is switched off. It’s the only time, day or night, this happens. It allows us to remain calm while our brains reprocess all the experiences of the day, helping us come to terms with particularly emotional events.”
So without adequate sleep, it’s almost impossible to combat daily stress.
Don’t Sacrifice Sleep for Work
Lack of sleep can be an even bigger problem when you work from home. It’s more of a challenge to separate work life from home life.
You’ll often work odd hours and stay up late thinking about projects. Sacrificing a few hours of sleep each night can seem like a good deal in exchange for greater financial stability and a successful operation, but sacrificing your sleep in the name of getting more work done can kill your productivity over the long term.
Look at the benefits of getting adequate sleep each night:
- You’ll avoid burnout. Workers who sleep fewer than six hours a night are much more likely to give up on their business.
- You’ll make fewer mistakes. Missing a couple hours of sleep each night will make you 50 percent slower and less accurate than if you get a full night’s sleep.
- You’ll remember things better. Since, as the report suggests, sleep is essential to categorizing memories, it makes sense that you may need a little more sleep to remember things properly.
- Decisions will be clearer. You’ll be able to think better when you’ve slept well, which fosters more beneficial, split-second decision-making skills.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
You might well have been aware of the impact of a good night’s sleep on productivity already, but that doesn’t mean you always get enough. If you’re struggling to get in a full eight hours, or you can’t seem to fall asleep, here are some tactics you can apply.
- Change Your Mattress
Do you wake up feeling sore or more tired after a good night’s sleep? Is your mattress more than 10 years old? If so, you need a new one. Rather than taking time out of your busy day to hit up the mattress store, read online reviews and order a mattress that comes right to your door.
- Set a Schedule
Put a little more structure in your day. Set hours for work and hours for play. Allow yourself at least a little free time everyday to de-stress and prepare for bed. Then try to sleep at least eight hours sometime between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Your body will respond best to sleep during this timeframe.
- Alter Your Eating Habits
Consuming heavy foods right before bed will keep you awake with indigestion. It will also mess with your metabolism, and could likely lead to weight gain.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t go to bed hungry. It’s hard for your body to relax and fall into REM sleep when one of your basic needs has not been met.
- Exercise Daily
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest triggers for inadequate sleep. If you’ve been sitting all day, your body will have a hard time recognizing it’s time to sleep, even if it’s dark out. The CDC recommends exercising at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Doing so will adequately tire out your body and promote a better sleeping rhythm.