Want to get ahead at work this year? Get more sleep. When we’re under pressure, sleep is one of the first things to go – but we should be doing exactly the opposite. This year, get an edge on your colleagues by prioritising sleep – because it can improve your performance in a number of ways:
1. You’ll bounce back from distractions faster. Concentration is hard when you’re sleep deprived – and just when you’ve finally managed to refocus, Harold from Accounts will lean over into your cubicle to tell you about his weekend, and break the spell. When you’ve slept, this is much easier to cope with.
2. You’ll keep burnout at bay. Research shows there’s a great predictor for who will burn out – just line up the people who are sleeping less than six hours a night. Somehow, we all wear how little we sleep as a badge of honour, when actually, we’re doing ourselves and our productivity levels a great disservice.
3. Your memory will improve. Sleep affects your brain in a myriad ways, and one of them is memory. When you’re tired, you just can’t remember as well – sleep will help your working memory to function at a higher level.
4. You’ll make better decisions. Research shows you’ll make more accurate split-second decisions if you sleep – your hit rate will improve by about 4%! It may not sound like much, but when you’re in a pinch, every bit helps.
5. You’ll work more accurately. Even moderate sleep-deprivation translates to a 50% slower reaction time, and a lower accuracy rate on simple tasks when compared to someone who is under the influence of alcohol!
So what, now what? The answer is simple – prioritise sleep, and get more of it, every day. It’s a mind shift – you have to commit to your sleep before you start making a change. Seven to nine hours is optimum. A good night’s sleep could be the best career advancement tool in your resilience toolkit!