By Renée Cohen
Proposal Manager & Contributing Writer at Quantum
During a teambuilding conference call recently, after a co-worker happened to mention their struggles with getting a good night’s sleep, a discussion about circadian rhythms (our sleep/wake cycles) and the problem of snoring partners ensued.
As the virtual meeting progressed, we established how many among us were “night owls” or conversely, “early birds”. Eventually, we left the clichéd comparisons to our feathered friends aside and revealed our own personal hacks for enjoying a good night’s sleep ─ some of which included:
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule by consistently going to sleep and waking up at the same time, even on weekends.
- Ensuring the temperature of the bedroom is kept on the cool side.
- Avoiding caffeine after 2 p.m. (although some suggested 4 p.m. was early enough for them).
- Taking a hot bath or hot shower before going to bed.
- Doing some restorative yoga and/or meditating for 15-20 minutes.
- Keeping the bedroom as dark as possible.
- Avoiding the use of electronic devices at bedtime.
- Wearing ear plugs to block out the distracting sounds of traffic or snoring.
In the book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, by Matthew Walker, PhD, it is suggested that the less one sleeps, the higher one’s potential risk for certain diseases, including diabetes and cancer. (During a guest appearance on a podcast, the author even claimed that getting less than six hours of sleep could increase a person’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 200%!)
Aside from being detrimental to health, lack of sleep also affects one’s performance at work.
On the TV show Seinfeld, the character George Constanza snuck in daily naps at work by customizing his desk with a shelf for an alarm clock and a drawer for a blanket. Ultimately, his covert napping came to a disastrous end after he awoke under his desk to find his boss in his office with grandchildren and dog in tow.
In the real world, getting caught sleeping on the job is generally frowned upon (read: likely to result in a firing) ─ unless employed by a company that offers dedicated nap rooms or sleep pods. Although, even when that’s the case, it is still preferable to get in some decent hours of sleep prior to beginning one’s workday.
According to Walker, quality sleep is a critical factor in performance at work ─ particularly for those in leadership roles. When referring to studies conducted on the effects of sleep deficiency in CEOs and supervisors, Walker explains that sleep deprived managers and CEOs “are less charismatic and have a harder time infusing their subordinate teams with inspiration and drive.”
One such study revealed that, “in the days after a supervisor had slept poorly, the employees themselves, even if well rested, became less engaged in their jobs,” as a consequence.
On the flip side, when workers are well rested, the positive benefits don’t only affect the individual, but the entire organization. As stated in Walker’s book, “Sound sleep is clearly sound business.”
Are you spending all your waking hours searching for your dream job? Or is your current job putting you to sleep? In either case, check out Quantum’s job listings and wake up to a better future.