Career Advice

How Sleep Deprivation is Secretly Killing Your Career

sleep deprivation

Are you on the bandwagon to earn, earn and earn more to build up a good account balance and indulge in all the luxuries of life? Well, believe it or not we all are bitten by the consumer bug where we essentially work to earn more and have access to the latest iPhone, the grandest car and to park that car in the most royal and majestic villa.

What more…to pursue those larger than life dreams we stretch ourselves thin, often to the extent of depreciating our well being and manipulating with our healthy lifestyle. Time for a reality check…more often than not, you skip breakfast, ignore the mid day hunger pangs that creep up between an important presentation, binge an extra loaded cheese sandwich to compensate for a healthy lunch, drive straight into a pub after work to unwind the load of a  hectic day, return home to gorge on a cold frozen dinner and head straight to bed when it is already past midnight and still struggle to sleep!

Yes…this is our ultra modern lifestyle where we are branching out to widen the canopy of our career while poisoning our roots to the core and yet expecting the best results. To put it simply, you cannot expect to deliver your best at work, if your body is un-rested and under nourished. While a number of modern vitamin and health supplements flooding the markets may make up for the deficiency in vitamins, there is absolutely no substitute for good sleep.

One or two nights of sleep deprivation can bring you laurels at work in terms of a better framed business strategy for a client or a presentation that was completed at the cost of precious sleep but in the long run, it shall ruin your career! Yes… you heard it right….Ruin your Career! Why? Because we need adequate sleep to perform well each day and every day.

Why we need adequate sleep to perform well?

If I tell you that you need adequate sleep to rebuild and recharge your body cells then it may sound cliché. So let’s get deeper…and know the science behind sleep and our performance. Studies and research from the University of Rochester suggest that sleep acts as a cleanser. When we are off to sleep, our brain removes the toxic proteins from its neurons that are by products of neural activity when we are awake and our brains are functioning.  Our brain can engage in this cleansing activity only when we are asleep and most of the nerves are resting. Sleep deprivation would mean missing out on this important cleansing regime. When we deprive our bodies of sleep, the brain cannot drive out or sanitize the nerve cells, hampering our thinking and cognitive abilities to a large extent.

Sleep deprivation literally kills or impedes many of our brain functions resulting in the following consequences:

  • It leads to increased irritability
  • Impairs cognitive thinking
  • Leads to memory lapses or loss
  • Increases stress
  • Leads to impaired immunity system
  • Slows down our response time
  • Decreases accuracy
  • Lowers our concentration levels

Not only this, lack of sleep over a period of time develops into a sleep disorder commonly called insomnia. It catapults your stress levels, increases anxiety and leaves you emotionally impaired. You start feeling lost with a degenerating IQ and EQ worse than that of a kid. With so many hitches, surely you have got a profound answer to the imperative question of how sleep affects our functioning or rather productivity. With all the above downsides of sleep deprivation, do you think you can do justice to your professional performance and build a growing career? Of course not!

So, take a step back and face the reality

Sleep deprivation is like dissolving slow poison which one day takes a gigantic shape with irrevocable loss. You will certainly agree that the way you handle your emotions and thoughts has a direct influence on your performance. What if you carry the aftereffects of the tiff that you had with your better half at the breakfast table to the conference room? You will not only show unbalanced emotions there but also perhaps lose out on the deal cursing the tiff you had. Whereas if you go down deeper, you should not be cursing the quarrel but your late night sleep schedule that triggered the tiff.

High EQ thinkers and performers know that it is not only the 7-8 hours of sleep that does good to them but also the quality of sleep that shapes up their health, emotions and in the long run their performance and career. Today’s lifestyle offers various instances that pull down or hamper quality sleep. Some of the killers of good sleep that can disrupt your daily rest schedule are:

  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Intake of alcohol and caffeine close to bed time
  • Certain medications
  • Over exposure to electronic gadgets during sleep time
  • Lack of sleep hygiene
  • Wrong choice of mattress and pillow

And many more…

Having cited so many justifications, it is still likely that you may be impressed by your co-worker’s ability to stay all night and work on a project while performing reasonably well during the day hours too, thus not whole heartedly acknowledging all that which has been stated here. But remember, what you see of him is only what he shows to the world, you may be oblivious of the underlying issues he may be suffering-poor metabolism, undiscovered health issues, emotional irritability, mood imbalances and many more.

Take a sneak look into his daily life and you will know how he may be melting fast by burning the candle at both ends. Revisit the old adage ‘Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’ with a new perception. Yes, you take care of your health and quintessential sleep and everything else will fall into place-your health, your lifestyle, your emotions, your relationships, your job and not to forget -your applaudable performance at the boardroom!

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