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Is your job killing your sleep?

03-02-2014

Is your job killing your sleep?

You’ve got to work to live, but you need to make sure that your job is not killing your sleep. Too often people work themselves too hard and take on too much stress. The combination of exhaustion and stress is a killer. The exhaustion means that you need sleep even more than normal but the stress makes it harder to get to sleep. Recent research has shown that even an hour or two less sleep than recommended can have a number of serious consequences in the short and long term, right up to premature death.

Work to live or work to die?
Work is an almost unavoidable part of life, but if you take on too much, if you internalise the stresses and worries of your job then you may be shortening your life. Far too many people struggle to get to sleep at night because they are worried about their work, what happened that day, what they have to do tomorrow. Work is stressful but you should not let it ruin your sleep. Sleep deprivation is debilitating in the short run and over the long term it can have a huge amount of concerning consequences, many of which can shorten your life.

Even a few hours less is a problem
It may seem melodramatic but recent research has shown that even a few hours less than optimal each night can have a wide range of damaging consequences. The average person needs around seven hours of sleep each and every night. If you are only get five or six, it might not seem like much of a difference, but it is enough to have a huge impact on you.

Sleep science
Sleep is not a uniform process. There are five different stages of sleep and to have a fulfilling sleep you need to pass through all five stages. If you do not then your body and brain will start to suffer. In the past sleep was seen in a largely mechanistic way, it was your body’s way of ‘recharging’ your batteries. This view has been expanded massively in the past few decades as scientists have uncovered the huge array of functions that sleep fulfils, from memory processing to hormone levels and ratios, from appetite control to mood regulation. Sleep is one of the most important components in your body and brain’s function and health.

12% is not a pretty figure
If your work is effecting your sleep then it will be impacting your overall health and wellbeing, it could even be reducing your lifespan. One of the biggest sleep studies ever done--with over a million participants-- found that people who were under-sleeping, those who were getting an average of five to six hours a night, had a higher chance of dying young. The survey found that those sleep six or less hours a night were a staggering 12% more likely to experience a premature death over a period of 25 years than those who were consistently getting between six to eight hours' sleep.

You have to work to live, but don’t let your work kill you. Make sure you get at least 6 hours sleep a night.


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