Currently, a typical workday involves the use of technology and extended working hours. Many people claim that they do disconnect from office work, i.e., calls, emails, and messages once they reach home. However, according to the American Psychological Association, more than 50% of people check their phones before and after office timings, even when they are not feeling well and over the weekend.
In addition, increasing work pressure tends people to be available for office work, even on vacation. Thus, to meet all these demands in the professional and personal life, one has to sacrifice sleep. This continuous pressure to answer work calls, emails, and messages during non-working hours leads to prolonged stress and affects mental and physical health. Some of the prominent factors that interfere with good sleep are work pressure, family responsibilities, and physical health.
Do not sacrifice sleep for work
Sleep is as essential as food and water for our body. Continuous mental pressure ensures that you do not get ample rest and a break from your office work or other responsibilities, leading to various health complications such as depression, obesity, lack of sleep, poor cognitive performance, and heart disease. Thus, doctors advise that you should get ample and peaceful sleep daily.
What complications does an individual face due to lack of sleep?
Sleep deprivation for a long duration can lead to serious complications. Some of the complications that would drain and put your mental as well as physical health at risk are as follows:
- Memory issues.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Weak immunity.
- Weight gain.
- High blood pressure.
- Risk of heart disease.
- Poor body balance.
What is the impact of lack of sleep on your body?
Lack of sleep affects the body. Some of the obvious consequences of lack of sleep are dull reflexes, irritation, disturbed mind, and others:
- Weakened reflexes: People who sleep less than six hours for more than two weeks do just fine, but their reflex and cognitive tests are impacted.
- Unfocused mind: Ample sleep is required for the brain to do work and function properly. Hence, lack of sleep impacts the ability to be attentive and focus on learning new things.
- Weight gain: Poor sleep leads to an increase in hunger, thereby resulting in weight gain. This is majorly due to the connection between sleep and the hormones that regulate your hunger. In addition, lack of sleep increases stress levels and pumps up the stress hormone, i.e., cortisol, which reduces the blood sugar level and increases cravings for fatty or junk foods.
- Shorter lifespan: Lack of sleep for a long duration raises the risk of dying.
How to get good sleep?
The factors that impact or interfere with your sleep are uncontrollable; however, you can adopt a few habits that would help you to get a good sleep. Some of the tips to get a good night’s sleep are mentioned below:
- Follow a sleep schedule. On average, eight hours’ sleep is sufficient for most individuals; hence, you should at least set aside eight hours from your schedule for sleep. At least seven hours of sleep is recommended for a healthy adult. Most people do not need more than eight hours of sleep.
You need to plan and decide your time to go to bed and wake up daily. If you are unable to sleep for over 20 minutes after you go to bed, it is advised that you leave the bedroom and do some activity that makes you feel relaxed, such as reading or listening to music, and return to bed again after you are tired. Also, you should keep a tap on the number of sleep hours over the weekend.
The difference in the sleep hours during the weekend cannot be more than one hour from your working day. This consistency in the schedule would reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Pay attention to what you consume (i.e., eat and drink). You should never go to sleep on an empty stomach or when you are feeling stuffed. It is advised that you should avoid large or heavy meals a couple of hours before bedtime. Consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can cause stimulating effects that would take time to wear off and impact sleep quality. Even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it would impact your sleep in the latter part of the night. Thus, your discomfort due to alcohol consumption or a heavy dinner might end up in you being awake throughout the night.
- Create an environment where you can feel restful. A cool, dark, and quiet room is ideal for sleeping. Exposure to lights, such as light-emitting screens and flashy lights before sleeping can make it challenging for you to fall asleep. You should keep earplugs, sound-emitting devices, and choose dark shades for your room, which would create an environment that supports you to fall asleep. Also, doing activities such as meditation, listening to music, bathing in warm water, or other relaxation techniques might encourage better sleep.
- Limit your daytime naps. Long duration daytime naps interfere with your night sleep. It is advised that you restrict your daytime nap to not more than 30 minutes and that too, not in the latter part of the day. However, if you are working the night shift, then you would need a long nap before your office hours to keep yourself awake during the working hours.
- Include physical activity in your routine. Regular physical activity during the daytime would help you get proper sleep at night. Also, spending quality time outside the house can be productive and healthy and support you in getting a good night’s sleep. However, you should avoid being active when close to bedtime.
- Manage worries. You should never try to sleep if you have any concerns or worries at the back of your mind. List down your worries and plan to resolve those the next day. Thus, you should be organized, set priorities, and assign tasks to manage your stress. If you are feeling anxious, then meditation can also help to get a good sleep.
- Cool temperatures. You should make sure that the room’s temperature is cool and comfortable. The bed and pillows should be comfortable for you to relax.
When to see a doctor?
Every individual has a sleepless night at some point in time. If the tips mentioned above do not help you regulate your sleep cycles and sleep well, you should immediately contact your doctor and identify the cause of getting better sleep.
Increasing work pressure, personal responsibilities, and other pressures impact the sleeping pattern of an individual. You should establish boundaries between your personal and professional life to maintain your health and family relationships. You should also practice stress management, as prolonged exposure to stress increases the risk of various other diseases such as heart disease, obesity, depression, and impacts cognitive performance. Thus, if you notice an irregular pattern in your sleeping schedule or lack of sleep, you should immediately contact your doctor and plan the next course of action.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How should you manage your sleep if your work takes up a lot of time and you do not have time for other activities?
Ans: To meet your hobby goals, you will have to sacrifice your sleep to some extent. However, it would depend on the situation and the duration of your sleep that you want to give up to achieve your target or goal. Sleeping less for a long time would impact your physical and mental health. Thus, it is not recommended to sacrifice your sleep to achieve your goals.
What all is impacted due to work pressure?
Ans: If you are unable to establish a boundary between your personal and professional life and work continuously under pressure, then you are missing some of the important parts of life such as your health, your family, your sanity, your identity, your contacts, and lastly your integrity. Thus, it is important to create and maintain a balance between your personal and professional life.
Which are some common sleep disorders?
Ans: Some of the most common sleep disorders are obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome. If you are diagnosed with any of these disorders, your doctor will prescribe medication to help combat the situation and get you a better sleep quality.