The old phrase ‘sleeping your way to the top’ may have a far more relevant meaning than the one most of us think of when we hear it. Rather than implying that you use sex as a means of advancing your career, recent research suggests that it could more accurately mean that by sleeping better you are more likely to succeed. However, the converse is also true, the less sleep you are getting each night the more you will struggle to climb the corporate ladder.
Part of the problem for many driven career focused people is that they take their work to bed with them, both metaphorically and sometimes even literally. In either case, this damages the quality and quantity of sleep and can have a series of consequences on work life. The problems with stressing about work when you are trying to get to sleep are well known. There has been much work on the consequences of stress on sleep and for many people with sleep disorders work related stress plays a big part.
While lying in bed stressing about your work is common, another increasingly common trait of the work focused is literally taking your work to bed with you. What do this mean? It means working in bed on your laptop, tablet or smart phone. These devices have meant that more and more of us are working in bed, and damaging our sleep in the process.
Jawbone, who are a consumer actigraphy device maker recently examined information from around 1,600 wearers of its UP system. (This system comprises of a wristband, app, and data service that aims to track people’s sleep, movement, and eating habits). Some of the findings are extremely interesting... and quite concerning for those that take their work to bed.
The biggest concern from the study is that people who used their laptop in bed at night got on average 37 minutes less sleep at night and people who used their smart phone in bed got 13 minutes less sleep on average. This might not sound like much but it has been shown that just a few minutes less than the recommended level each night can have a serious impact on both short term and long term physical and mental health.
The other interrelated piece of data from the study was that the participants who got at least 7 hours of sleep each night were around 30% more likely to report feeling rested the next day and they were also far more likely to report feeling optimistic, patient, focused, productive, and attractive the next day.
The thing is that sleep fulfils a range of critical physiological and psychological functions, from regulating our appetite to processing memories. Even a few minutes less than optimal can impact you and the longer you burn the candle at both ends the worse it gets. If you want to really succeed then the best thing you can do is leave your work at the bedroom door, literally. Make your bedroom an electronic device free zone.
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