How to improve one’s productivity at work?
Even though some people are proud of themselves for not getting enough sleep, studies have proven the importance of revitalizing sleep, both for our health and for one’s social life. Restful sleep decreases the risk of chronic diseases, while increasing productivity at work and well-being. Is it possible to improve efficiency at work with better sleep or by taking a nap at the office?
How does sleep help in learning and memory?
Sleep takes up 1/3 of our time and according to physiologists it is as important as one’s diet or exercise: sleep has a genuine influence on the body.
While we sleep, the body does not remain inactive. It takes advantage of our deep sleep to synthesize various hormones, such as growth hormones in children.
The brain also maintains intense activity to strengthen our memory and helps with learning. It forces neural circuits to "repeat" what they have learned during the day. This is the reason why we remember a lesson, or a task better, if we read it right before falling asleep.
Poor sleep may the cause of your mood swings
A few figures help sum up the importance of sleep on health: adults who lack proper sleep, risk of catching a cold are multiplied by 4, not to mention cardiovascular disease by 48% and the risk of type 2 diabetes by 28%.
The direct connection between obesity and sleep is also clearly established, with an alteration in carbohydrates and hormonal metabolism.
Fatigue not only affects our character, going from irritability to depression, but it also has an impact on our social life. A 2007 study has even led to a surprising result: lack of sleep can change our moral values and make us less truthful.
How can I boost my performance
While sleep influences our health to a great extent, it has just as much influence on our occupational health, and therefore the way we work. If some companies allow their employees to take a nap, it is not always due to altruism: it is because it has been proven that sleep and rest boost performance.
What counts as good sleep?
In a typical night, a person goes through successive sleep cycles of 60 to 120 minutes. During each cycle, slow sleep alternates with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the latter increases at the end of the night. These cycles vary in different stages of your life, light sleep is more intense during growth (infants till adolescence), but it decreases with age, making room for lighter slow sleep, which explains the increase in sleep disorders for the elderly.
At the end of the day, to experience genuine and restful sleep, it is the duration of the deep sleep phase which is of importance.
A 20 to 30-minute nap also allows us to catch a few minutes of restful sleep, which still helps us recover. Even the simplest action of closing one’s eyes, or taking a 5-minute cat nap, is enough to significantly and effectively lower blood cortisol levels and stress. Everyone has been able to experience it... and the hardest part is sometimes to wake up!
How does good sleep improve our productivity at work?
Several studies have shown that lack of sleep affects the area of the brain which takes part in innovation, decision analysis, self-control, and creativity. If you sleep less, you won’t be able to make good decisions, be less innovative and work in a more stressful mode.
This is probably why human resource development as well as occupational health physicians are increasingly interested in the importance of proper and restful sleep, and the influence of sleep on the body and brain to be productive at work.
What can I do to get more sleep?
Good, restful sleep is not straight forward: it varies from one person to another and then throughout their life.
On the other hand, our first nocturnal cycles are much more restorative than the following cycles. Therefore, it’s important to try and listen to your body, to respect a few simple rules:
-Avoid all stimulants during the evening: alcohol, coffee, tea, blue light, video games, sports...
-Respect your body rhythm: go to bed when you feel you are droopy eyed, set up a ritual (reading for example), respect fixed schedules.
-Optimize sleeping conditions: light, noise, mattress, temperature at 66°F (19°C) maximum during winter.
How can technology help you get a better night’s sleep?
Nowadays, there are advanced solutions designed to help us sleep better, analyze our sleep or even the optimize how we wake up, all this without sleeping pills.
Analyze Your Sleep
Monitoring sleep allows each person to visualize his/her sleep and then pinpoint the areas where the problems lie. This had been reserved for sleep clinics for a long time, now this method is accessible through various mobile applications and connected devices: headbands, mattresses fitted with sensors, watches, bracelets and certain bedside table devices.
The goal is to identify your sleep issue, and then find a personalized solution adapted to your needs.
Get better sleep with auditory or rhythmic stimulation
Different devices offer light (led) or auditory signals, to model breathing frequencies. These auditory luminous metronomes are quite similar to techniques like hypnosis, relaxation, or Yoga prana.
Some connected bracelets also trigger rhythmic stimulation with a hypnotic effect, which is a lot like rocking a baby to sleep ... or of a train to lulling an adult to sleep.
“Refreshing sleep” means waking up in tip top shape!
To ideally wake up at the end of the sleep cycle, there are connected devices that record your sleep and detects the right moment to wake you up. Through a progressive auditory melody or a gradual brightness, just like the rising sun, this gentle awakening perfectly prolongs a restful night and guarantees starting off on the right foot.
Restore your sleep with Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback method is about teaching our brain to emit certain brainwaves in a controlled manner, from a particular area of the brain. In the case of sleep issues, the patient will learn to produce SMR (SensoriMotor Rhythm) waves in particular, that strengthens the neural circuit needed to produce brainwaves associated with sleep at night.
Connected objects based on the Neurofeedback method have now come up with exercises that can be performed during the day to learn to control and produce these brainwaves. The advantage of these connected objects is that they can be used at home, at any given time during the day on your own. You’re no longer obliged to go to a specialized clinic for Neurofeedback!
Regaining one’s productivity at work might soon be just at our fingertips and finally without the often-harmful reliance of a sleeping pill.