Home / Women in Focus / Career / Sleep your way to success: How a good eight hours can transform your work-life

© Getty
Women in Focus

Sleep your way to success: How a good eight hours can transform your work-life

Stephanie Ashley
by Stephanie Ashley Published on February 13, 2014

We're all guilty of scrimping on our sleep, but there's a whole bunch of reasons why getting your sleeping patterns sorted can give your career the boost it needs. Get sleep savvy and make your zzz's work for you!

Once you reach a certain age, it becomes almost a necessary evil to put your work (and social life and everything else) before sleep. What’s the old saying? “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

But according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), one in three people become so tired during the day that they have trouble performing daily activities.

We're all guilty of feeling drowsy at work, but don't let your sleeping habits put a damper on your career! If you sleep-wise you can put your daylight hours to good use - and get ahead in your career.

Here's the rules you need to stick to for a decent night's sleep - go on! Make your sleep work harder for you!​

What does sleep have to do with my work life?

Career success is not just about work ethic and mentality. If your health is down or you are feeling constantly drowsy, your work will most definitely suffer.

Sleep affects clarity and focus, two things that are integral to a successful work life. A poll by the NSF shows that 29% percent of people admit they became sleepy at work, and 12% of workers were late getting into the office due to sleepiness.

Don’t be that person who shows up late, yawning their way through the door. Kick your snooze, sleep, snooze habit and you'll soon see what a difference it can make to your working day.

Use your nights wisely

When you get home from work, working more is probably the last thing you want to do. We all give in to sitting in front of the television and indulging in mindless entertainment. Don't let yourself do it! If you just can't live without your TV shows, use your weekends to catch up on all the episodes you missed.

Instead, use your nighttime hours wisely. Perhaps you have a few things to get done before work tomorrow. Create a to-do list for your next day and figure out all you need to do. Set out a game plan for your career, and use your nights to get yourself there. Whether you spend one night out at a networking event and making valuable contacts or taking a course that can further your career, if you use your evenings right you'll soon see your career move forward.

Maybe you'd rather work on a few personal projects instead. Say, writing in a journal, working up a screenplay or reading that book you've been putting off. Take those few hours before nodding off to your advantage by sharpening your mind, not letting it go dull with laziness. A sharp mind can make all the difference in the office the next day.

Nightly routine

Using your nights to your advantage is an important part of amping up your career, but give yourself at least an hour before bedtime to wind down. Every mind needs time to calm down from a crazy day!

Before lying down in bed, make a relaxing routine for yourself. Maybe take a bath or listen to some music. Get your thoughts down on paper so they don't bombard you as you try to sleep. Setting up a nightly routine will help your body and mind get ready for a good night's sleep, so the next morning you'll be refreshed for your big day in the office.

Get your 8 hours!

You’ve heard this tip since you were a child, but it is time to start taking sleep seriously! Sleep experts recommend that healthy adults get between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per day. Some people can feel alert the next day with less sleep than others, so figure out how much you need.

Once you know how many hours you need a night (and crucially, whether you're a night owl or early bird kinda person) it's time to set a bedtime. Yep, even adults need to have one!

If you know you have a set time you need to be in bed each night then it'll give you a little extra discipline to get everything you need to, done, before you hit the hay.

Wake up earlier, get to work earlier

Ever imagined what you could do with an extra half an hour in the day? (And no we're not talking about sleep). Try it out. Go to bed 30 minutes early and then wake up 30 minutes early.

Whether you use the time to get to work before everyone else to sort out your day, use it to write a to do list, clean your desk or simply respond to personal emails before your work day sets in, those extra minutes can make your working day much more focused. (AKA productive).

Getting quality sleep can be difficult, but it is also very important for success in the workplace. Being active and attentive in your career can make all the difference to your future. Being alert in the office can help you be more productive than you ever thought possible.

So get into a healthy sleep-wake routine and help yourself stop yawning at work! Any more healthy sleep tips? Tweet us @wewomenUSA.