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11 Ways Sleep Deprivation Is Ruining Your Career (and What to Do About It)


Not getting enough restful sleep at night can do more than leave you irritable and groggy in the morning – it could be the reason you aren’t advancing in your career, too. We’ll take a look at 11 alarming ways sleep deprivation affects your brain over time, and what you can do to help remedy your insomnia so that it doesn’t prevent you from achieving success in your career.

Here's what insomnia is doing to your career

(Photo Credit: reynermedia/Flickr)

The need for a good night’s sleep isn’t just a story your mom used to tell to get you into bed at a decent hour. All people need sleep, young and old, to function optimally and to maintain good health.

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According to the National Sleep Foundation, humans will spend up to one-third of their lives sleeping, but not all sleepers are created equal. Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 require anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep a night, while some (lucky) adults can function just fine on only four to six hours of sleep. Factors such as lifestyle, diet, and circadian rhythm play a huge role in determining how much shuteye a person needs on a nightly basis, but one thing is for sure: people need their rest.

Americans are also living longer now, which means they’re working later in life, too. In fact, the median age of the American worker was 37.1 in 1992, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it’s expected that the median age will increase to 42.6 by 2022. To make matters worse, insufficient sleep is a public epidemic that contributes to an array of mental and physical health issues common to American professionals, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That means, if things continue as they are, there may be a great deal of overworked, tired, and ill people in the workforce once 2022 rolls around.

What are the consequences of not getting enough sleep? According to Mic‘s infographic, loss of memory, anger, and brain damage are just a few of the things that not enough shuteye can cause. Take a look at the other alarming effects of sleep deprivation in the infographic below.

(Click here to view larger version of infographic.)

How to get a good night's sleep.

(Photo Credit: Mic)

Sleep deprivation also affects us as a nation. A 2011 Harvard Medical School sleep study conducted by researcher Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., found that sleep deprivation costs American workers about 11.3 days and roughly $2,280 in “lost productivity” each year. What’s more, the study also found that, as a nation, the estimated annual cost of sleep deprivation is $63.2 billion, or 252.7 days. Maybe that’s why more companies are encouraging “nap time” for their employees, and even going so far as to purchase MetroNaps’s EnergyPod, “the world’s first chair designed uniquely for napping in the workplace.”

As you can see, getting a good night’s sleep does a body (and career) good. If you suffer from a sleep disorder or just can’t seem to feel rested in the morning, here are a few ways to help you settle down and sleep like a baby.

1. Limit caffeine in the afternoon: Caffeine can stay in your system for up to five to six hours after it’s consumed, so limit your caffeine intake (i.e. that afternoon quad-latte) after 4 p.m., just to be safe.

2. Exercise more and regularly: “As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your nighttime sleep, especially when done on a regular basis,” says

3. Have a nighttime snack: Studies show that walnuts, almonds, cherries, and warm milk have properties that convince your body that it’s time for bed.

If you didn’t get much sleep last night and need some tips on how to make it through the day, then this post will be your saving grace. Sleep tight!

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Leah Arnold-Smeets
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