When was the last time you got eight hours of sleep?
You may laugh at the thought of getting that much rest, and many of your peers would agree with you. Gallup polls show that more than 50% of millennials are not getting sufficient sleep. Between the sped-up news cycle and a world that is more technologically connected than ever, sacrificing a little bit of sleep is worth it if it helps you achieve your ambitions and manage your busy schedule, right?
Um, maybe not.
Experts who have researched the effects of sleep deprivation have identified numerous negative impacts of sleep deprivation on performance, productivity, cognitive function, and overall health.
Specifically, past studies have found that:
In other words, by sacrificing that little bit of sleep to achieve your goals, you've likely become more anxious, more forgetful, less attentive, slower, and less emotionally stable — all of which are likely to get in the way of achieving those goals you've worked toward.
Still worth it?
Don't worry, you don't have to sacrifice your ambitions in order to get a better night of sleep. In fact, there are a few good habits that can help you avoid sleep deprivation and resolve any sleep issues you might have.
First, silence your phone and/or laptop before you go to sleep. Research has shown that people are more likely to get less sleep if they receive notifications at night. If you work in a role where people may need to contact you for after-hours emergencies, set your phone to allow notifications from specific contacts.
Next, create a consistent sleep schedule. Over time, your body will fall into a pattern where it expects to sleep and awake at the same times every day, which will make it easier for you fall asleep and get a full eight hours.
Third, you should exercise every day. This doesn't need to be extremely strenuous exercise, but incorporating exercise into your day can improve the quality of your sleep.
If you are still having trouble sleeping, you should contact your doctor, who may refer you to a sleep psychiatrist. There may be another underlying cause of your sleep deprivation that can be treated by a medical professional.
How much sleep are you going to get tonight?