What is on your mind while you are driving to work? Are you singing songs with the radio or are you wondering is the iron still plugged in? When we sleep less than we should, we usually don’t get up on time to have breakfast, drink coffee, and properly wake up. We rush to get dressed, grab a bite, and rush out. Later we realize that we skipped one button on our shirt or that we forgot something. If getting insufficient sleep messes up our minds this way, how can it affect our ability to work for the next eight hours?
Except for people who are lucky enough to consider themselves early birds, the majority struggles during the early morning hours even if they were sleeping for 8 or 9 hours. We know that lack of sleep is not good for us, but sometimes there is no choice. Neighbors were having a party, you were partying, or your baby was crying all night, etc., there are many reasons why we occasionally skip sleeping. However, if it becomes a chronic condition, sleep deprivation can significantly impair our performance.
What Happens To Your Brain When You Try Working Sleep-Deprived
Do you sometimes think that morning shift in the office looks like there is a bunch of zombies who are trying too hard to complete simple tasks? We all have those colleagues who just seem lost in time and space for the first few hours. Sometimes we need a proper hour or two to write an email, spill coffee, print 100 pages instead of 10, big deal. Basically, when we are sleep-deprived, we are out of focus, we cannot concentrate and perform on a level that is expected.
Of course, you can work without sleeping, but sooner or later you are going to crash. You will also jeopardize your health, your team, colleagues, and overall results. On average, adults need around 8 or 9 hours of restorative sleep every night. Unfortunately, for various reasons, not many of us succeed sleeping that much. So before our country does something to ban work during the early morning hours, let’s see the consequences of working sleep-deprived.
Lack of Focus and Motivation
Do you sometimes catch yourself trying to do multiple things at once, switching from one tab to another, without being able to do one thing at a time? When we are sleep-deprived, our brain tries so hard to stay awake, and one way to achieve that is to look for distractions. That is why we are unable to focus on one simple thing and finish it before jumping into another one.
It has been proven that sleep deprivation can trigger anxiety, so if you feel like you are always on edge at work, lack of sleep can be the cause. This is a big deal since in many cases work environment tends to be a bit nerve-wracking, so the tension inside of you will rise even more if you are not sleeping enough. Since sleep deprivation impairs memory, problems just keep piling up for those who are trying to work and function.
We are all grumpy or moody in the morning, but that goes away after a cup of coffee or after we enter our work mode. However, when we do not get enough rest, that is when our anger goes a bit out of control, and those who tend to snap quickly, often forget about counting to 3 before they react. When you are working in a team, it is all about balancing and maintaining good relationships, so you do not want your temper to be the cause of some unpleasant situations.
The Risk Factor
When we are making some important decisions, we often tend to say that we will sleep on it, and see how we feel about it tomorrow. We are giving ourselves some time to clear our minds and act rationally, and sleep is an essential part of that process. Because when we are sleep-deprived, we tend to make the wrong choices, we are willing to gamble and take bigger risks. When you are working, you want to be responsible only for the right decisions, not the bad ones. Before deciding on anything, sleep on it, and then impress your boss with some wise choices.
How to Keep Your Sleep-Deprived Brain Running at Work
Time goes by slowly when you are tired at work, so sometimes you have to find a way to go through that day without falling asleep at your desk. Use your break time wisely to recharge your batteries and clear your mind so that you can be productive and actually do some work. Here are some things you can do to boost your energy and finally wake up.
- Go outside and expose yourself to natural sunlight. Sun exposure alerts our biological clock, so it is great to wake up in the morning with the sunrise or to use your breaks at work to go outside and soak up the sun and fresh air. You will instantly feel better, it will clear your mind, and you will be more present.
- Caffeine is everyone’s favorite aid against sleepiness, but you should not exaggerate with it. If you do not have enough time to drink something while you are still at home, you can drink your coffee with colleagues at work. Or drink coffee when you feel like you cannot handle your tiredness.
- If you are lucky enough to have a power nap station at work, you should use the perks of it. A 20-minute long power nap is enough to keep you refreshed and alert for a few hours. However, you should not use it to doze off, because when we fall into a deep sleep, we will wake up groggy and even more sleepy, so it would not improve our performance at all.
- Be active. Many of us have jobs that require sitting in front of a screen for hours, and that is not only bad for our posture, but the lack of physical activity can also induce sleepiness. Use every chance to get up, walk around, stretch your arms and legs, or even do some basic exercises during the break.
Does Sleeping Count as Working?
Sadly, we are not paid for sleeping, but when you look at the bigger picture, sleeping plays a significant role; it prepares us for work. The way we perform, communicate, the decisions we make, our motivation, dedication, and teamwork, all depend on how we slept last night. It is so simple, yet so hard to achieve sometimes. When we are getting enough of it, sleep works for us, but when we are not, it can all go down the hill. Before drinking that third cup of coffee, or pinching yourself to stay up, find some time to sleep at night. May sleeping be your primary, full-time job.
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Selena Thomas is a content writer who loves sharing tips on healthy lifestyles. A writer by day and a reader by night, she’s fond of writing articles that can help people in improving both physical and mental health. Also, she loves traveling and inspires people on her blogs.