One of the most important things you can do in order to succeed in your work is sleep. Skipping on sleep might feel like it gives you more time and allows you to get more stuff done, but in the end it harms your productivity levels and work standards.
If you want to establish sleep practices that really complement your work and help you to succeed in your career, there are a few steps you may want to take.
Don’t Skimp on Sleeping Time
The first step is simply making sure you get enough sleep. You should get around seven hours a night if you want to work at peak efficiency – at least as a general rule. Everybody is different, so some people will need more while other lucky individuals will be fine with less. Make sure you allow enough time between going to bed and having to get up again to get the full amount of sleep you need, plus some extra time to allow for actually dropping off and for any times you might wake in the night.
Establish a Regular Routine
Carrying out that first step will be a lot easier if you have a regular routine in place, going to bed and getting up at around the same time each day (assuming your work schedule allows for this). Having a regular routine also helps you to get to sleep more easily, rest more effectively, and feel better in the mornings, as your body gets used to sleeping and waking at a given time. As tempting as it might be to lie in on weekend, even taking a couple of days out of this routine a week can keep your body clock from adjusting neatly, so try to get up at the same time even on weekends and you will probably find it much easier to get up during the week.
Wind Down in the Evenings
Even if you are catching up on some work or some important other project in the evening, don’t keep at it right up until you collapse onto your pillow. Allow yourself some breathing space and time to wind down before going to bed, and you will sleep much better. You should also avoid using your smartphone – whether for important tasks or just browsing the internet or fiddling with your most addictive apps – for a while before going to bed. The screen will stimulate your eyes and your brain and discourage sleep. If you must use your phone before bed, consider installing one of the several apps that “warm up” the light given out by your phone’s display to reduce this effect.
Make Your Bedroom a Good Place to Sleep
None of these steps will do you much good if your bedroom environment is not one that encourages calm, restful sleep. At the most basic level, this means ensuring your bed and pillows are comfortable and that you maintain a pleasant temperature. You should also make an effort to remove all distractions such as noises or lights. Even if you are too used to these things to notice them consciously, they can still affect your sleep.