How good sleep can help your career

BY Martin Seeley

6th Mar 2024 Wellbeing

3 min read

How good sleep can help your career
During this National Career Week, sleep expert Martin Seeley at MattressNextDay explains how good sleep can help you climb the career ladder
In a world of hustle culture and rise-and-grind mentalities, a lot of us may be under the impression that in order to succeed, we need to be up early, working all hours of the day and replying to emails late at night. Having a side hustle is a great way to earn some extra cash, but that extra work often means you're getting a lot less sleep than you should be—with 25 per cent of people with side hustles working more than 50 hours a week.
But a lack of proper sleep can seriously affect your career, and according to Google trend data, searches for “too tired to work” have risen by 296 per cent recently. Sleep expert Martin Seeley at MattressNextDay reveals how good sleep is the key to climbing the career ladder.

How is lack of sleep affecting my career? 

Woman sleeping on her laptop at work
Sleep deprivation can have a significant effect on your job performance—from affecting your focus and attention span, making you zone out in zoom calls, to making you feel more stressed and irritable, causing you to snap at colleagues or managers. 
"Sleep deprivation can have a signifcant effect on your job performance"
Lack of sleep impairs your memory and critical thinking, making it more difficult to learn new things—things that would be essential in progressing in your career. Not getting enough sleep means you’ll be low on energy and motivation, which can stop you completing tasks and meeting deadlines. This might make you want to work late to compensate, and the vicious cycle of sleep loss continues.

How will good sleep help me progress in my career? 

Man giving presentation at work
1. Focus
Studies show that lack of sleep impairs attention, long-term memory, and decision-making ability. People who are well rested score higher on cognitive tests, have better skills at problem solving, and make less mistakes.
2. Creativity
When you sleep, your brain processes information, consolidates memories, and can spark unconventional connections—so going to bed on time could be the key to unlocking a creative breakthrough.
"Quality sleep improves emotional intelligence, which increases your ability to communicate effectively"
3. Communication
We’ve all lost our temper which someone when we’ve been overtired—lack of sleep heightens things like anger and irritability, affecting how you regulate emotions. Quality sleep improves emotional intelligence, which increases your ability to communicate effectively. This leads to stronger relationships with co-workers and clients, and better conflict resolution skills.
4. Leadership
Prioritising sleep makes you a better and more resilient leader. You can lead by example, and get the best out of your team by encouraging them to get enough rest. This means that you not only reduce the chances of burning out yourself, but the rest of your team, too.

What's the best way to sleep for my career? 

Woman drinking coffee and working on laptop
1. Be consistent
Establish a regular sleep routine and stick to it, even on weekends and days off—this will regulate your circadian rhythm, and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
2. 10-3-2-1-0 method
Stop drinking caffeine ten hours before you go to bed, as it takes ten hours for caffeine to leave your bloodstream. Wait three hours before going to bed after eating a big meal and drinking alcohol. Finish work and other stimulating tasks two hours before sleep, to allow your mind to relax and wind down. Turn off screens one hour before bed, to stop the blue light affecting melatonin production.
3. Try a different position 
Studies have shown that certain sleeping positions mean success. Apparently, people who sleep in the foetal position are far less likely to be motivated the following day, whereas people who sleep on their back have a much better night’s sleep and wake up feeling content and motivated.

What does my sleeping position say about my career? 

1. Soldier 
The soldier position is on your back, arms and legs straight, like a horizontal soldier standing to attention; this sleeping position suggests that you're confident, self-assured, even if you may be a little on the quiet side. Soldier sleepers expect a lot from themselves and others, and are well suited to a leadership role.
2. Foetal 
Foetal position sleepers may feel closed off to new experiences and opportunities, and fear being left out. They’re often sensitive, shy, overwhelmed and anxious. However, they’re more likely to be friendly and pleasant, so can be a good person to work with, even if they're not a leader.
"Studies have shown that certain sleeping positions mean success"
3. Freefaller 
The freefaller sleeps on their front with arms above their head. Freefallers are more likely to be social, outgoing and not afraid to speak their mind—but they don't take criticism well so can be difficult in a meeting and a challenge to manage.
4. Log
Log sleepers prefer to be on their side, with arms resting in their natural position. If you sleep like this, you're likely to be trustworthy, and easily welcome strangers into your life. People often come to you for help and advice in the workplace, and seek you out as a mentor.
Banner photo: Good sleep is key to advancing in your career. Credit: Ron Lach

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