Last year, 40% of Americans got less than 7 hours of sleep each night, with an average of 6.8 hours per night. In fact, it is estimated that 70 million Americans have a sleeping disorder. While your creativity is boosted during those sleepier parts of your day, not getting the recommended hours of sleep over long periods of time can have a lasting, negative effect. Being tasked with a job while lacking the necessary z’s seems downright impossible — especially in a high-stress, multi-tasking position like that of a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR pro.
If you want to avoid the long list of horrible effects of sleep deprivation, use these three tips:
Tip 1: Beds Are for Sleeping, Not Smartphones
For busy people, sleeping is that time between one shift and the next. Therefore, things like email find their ways into our relaxation time. In 2013, 49% of people admitted to checking their email immediately after waking up at least sometimes. Moreover, 54% of people admit to checking email before they go to bed.
Studies show that bright lights before bed can lead to a reduction in melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles, and without it, we lose that sleepy feeling. A lack in melatonin also has been shown to impair the immune system and increase risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. By separating yourself from your screens and lowering the lights around you an hour before bed, you will significantly lower your chances of suppressing melatonin. You can also install the software f.lux on your devices. The program can be installed on any Apple device and will automatically adjust your display colors to suit the time of day.
Tip 2: Know What Works for Your Body
Chronotypes are a genetic explanation as to why a person feels more awake at one part of the day than at another time. Studies show that a gene known as PER1 determines if you are a night owl, morning lark, or hummingbird (right in the middle). If you happen to find yourself identifying more with one over the other, but cannot change your work schedule to suit it, use bright lights to trick your body into working with you and not against.
The morning lark who is bright eyed and bushy tailed in the early hours but needs to work late should fill their evenings with bright lights and more activities like hitting the gym or going for a walk.
The night owl with a morning shift should fill their early hours with light and activity. Going to bed with the curtains open will let natural light in, to help your body feel more awake.
Tip 3: Forget Practicing — Scheduling Makes Perfect
Once you have figured out a schedule that works for you, stick to it! It is believed that it takes 21 days to make something a habit, but scientists are finding that it may take closer to 66 days for a new habit to truly set in. In other words: though it may be rough in the beginning, sticking to your new schedule will only become easier.
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