We’ve all experienced times when sleep has had to be sacrificed, whether for an ill child, an important deadline, to travel or for anything else.
But, not getting the sleep you need could be doing your career long-term damage. Sleep deprivation can result in many unwelcome issues:
1. Loss of concentration and focus – this is perhaps the most obvious symptom of sleep deprivation. Even with lots of caffeine fuelling you, your ability to concentrate plummets, as does your productivity. That extra hour or two of shut-eye will be more than worth it in terms of what you achieve as a result.
2. Memory lapses – short-term memory is the next thing to be affected by sleep deprivation, even after just missing one full night’s sleep. You will be less efficient, and you could have trouble holding on to even the most basic information.
3. Caffeine and other stimulants can only help in the short-term. You may develop a dependency on artificial aids to stay awake, and even to get to sleep as well. Ultimately, you can form even worse sleeping habits.
4. You become more prone to stress, and other psychological problems including depression and anxiety. The latter two are well-known side effects of chronic sleep deprivation. Both can negatively impact your career prospects. No one feels their best if they are not properly rested.
5. Physical health starts to suffer. You may find you put on weight, feel sore and achey, and get regular headaches. Because of a poorly functioning immune system, you may find you are more prone to contagious illnesses. Unfortunately, heart failure or disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or even a stroke can result from not sleeping enough.
The good news is that you can break the cycle. Commit to seven hours a night, stay away from caffeine before bedtime, stick to a routine even at weekends and keep away from TV or digital devices an hour before bed. It’s important to invest in a good mattress too – you never know, it might be just what you need to get that promotion.