Sleep and productivity - a Successful Tandem

Those who have the to work productively need restful sleep. Mental and physical regeneration during the night is essential in order to be able to peak during the day. But what does it actually mean to sleep well?

Although the rumor persists that "a lot helps" when sleeping, the correlations between productivity and sleep quality are actually much more complex. Individual factors are in the foreground.

We'll show you how sleep needs to be so you're fully there the next day.

Quantity and Quality - Two Sides of a Coin

Scientific research by researchers at the has shown that the ideal sleep duration is on average 7 to 8 hours. How you sleep during this time, so how high the quality of sleep is, that's the other side of the coin.

Sleep hygiene plays a dominant role in the quality of sleep. Sleep hygiene is the suppression of influences that interfere with sleep and promotes influences that promote healthy sleep.

This can be the evening renunciation of caffeinated drinks, or a dark, quiet environment and an ideal sleep rhythm. Even the right mattress can make a big difference here.

The goal should be a feel-good atmosphere that invites you to relax. Since electronic devices are omnipresent in the age of smartphones and numerous screens, the first step to better sleep hygiene is to switch them off as much as possible, or at least to use blue light filter apps.

With regard to the individual ideal sleep duration - which varies over the course of life by the way - a deficit of only 20 minutes can lead to a reduction in memory and performance. Sleep disorders can also lead to significant loss of productivity, including daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration.

While a minimum of about 7 hours of sleep, study results, optimize cognitive abilities such as creativity, learning ability, orientation and cognition, both a sleep duration of less than 7 hours and one of more than 8 hours can be the same skills.

Sleep Types

In terms of productivity, it is not only the optimal sleep duration and the quality of the night's sleep that matters, but also the individual sleep type. While early risers should ideally turn on the notebook before 8 a.m. and run up to peak form, the productivity potential of a morning muffle around this time is certainly still in the lower range.

Those who belong to the category lark can typically jump out of their feathers at 6 o'clock, while the sleeping type owl only turns up towards the evening, when it is almost time for the lark to jump into bed again. So this inner clock, for which the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded in 2017, plays an important role in increasing your productivity.

 The researcher Till Roenneberg already came to the conclusion in the "Munich Chronotype Study 2006" that a late-sleeper a la owl can suffer a kind of chronic jet lag if he has to go to work early every day. Over time, this temporal "misalignment" can manifest itself in diseases such as heart problems that do not harmonize with the desire for more productivity.

With regard to a productive way of working, recommendations for the individually perfect working time can be derived from this. Those who have the luxury of determining them themselves are therefore able to have a direct influence on their productivity. In general, employers should allow their employees to allocate more flexibly their time if they are interested in their well-being and maximum performance.

Sleep and Productivity - A Symbiosis

Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to reduced attention span, reduced memory performance, and longer response time, which in turn stands in the way of a productive working day.

In addition to the quality of sleep and a type-oriented working time, a good balance between waking and sleeping phases is indispensable for an optimized interplay of sleep and productive working methods. This balance is called homeostasis and says that you can only sleep restful if you are awake long enough. If you have slept well, you can use this time – which averages about 16 hours – productively, which in turn is a good prerequisite for high-quality sleep.

As early as 1996, the research team June Pilcher and John Huffcutt came to the conclusion that a lack of sleep severely impairs the functioning – and correspondingly productivity . In this study, too, the researchers observed a decrease in cognitive performance with reduced motor skills.

Since psychological-emotional factors also affect your productivity, it is important that you pursue an activity for which your heart beats. Because only if you meet your area of responsibility with an extra dose of passion can you succeed in doing your best in the long run. Of course, a successful team constellation with a motivating atmosphere is also indispensable. This is based, among other things, on the ability to eliminate conflicts together and in a solution-oriented manner, in order to devote themselves fully to productivity. And those who are satisfied with their professional life will probably also sleep better.

Work-Life Balance - Why the weekend is not enough for regeneration

Even if it sounds tempting to make the weekend a night out and make up for the sleep deficit of the week relaxed between the pillows, you will never fully recover with this procedure. There is nothing wrong with switching the switches at the weekend and letting it go quietly. However, their sleep quality benefits from a sleep rhythm that does not vary too much.

Professor Dr. Ingo Fietze - Head of the Sleep Medicine Center at the Charité in Berlin - believes that under today's conditions it is unrealistic for workers to get to the recommended 7 to 7.5 hours. Accordingly, he classifies a night's sleep on Saturday and Sunday as quite reasonable. Although a study by stockholm's Karolinska Institute has concluded that a lack of sleep can be made up at weekends, further studies are needed to make concrete recommendations. By the way, it is not possible to sleep ahead in terms of productivity.

For a productive work style – and a conscious life next to the job – it makes sense to integrate an individually suitable work-life balance into your everyday life and not just relax on weekends. Especially freelancers who work at home are right when you internalize fixed work and leisure time and consciously start the evening. Because productivity in the job depends not only on sleep, but also on a fulfilled private life.

Sleep optimization

Of course, employers are also interested in improving the quality of their employee's sleep if the effort has a positive effect on productivity. Power napping – a short nap for recharging used energy reserves – has long since arrived in open-plan offices, helping teams to increase their productivity.

While sleep optimization, for example to increase productivity, is always a desirable goal, not every way there is recommended. The pharmaceutical approach is particularly problematic, it should only be considered in case of acute to chronic sleep disorders under medical advice. There is certainly nothing to prevent people from using the naturally sleep-promoting effect of Valerian, Hops and Co., but it becomes critical when synthetic substances are specifically abused in order to either be able to sleep or to use one's own before presentations. artificially increase performance.

 If you look behind the scenes of future-oriented sleep management, you will already be confronted with sleep tracking. Digital monitoring of your sleep and the data it generates is intended to find starting points for optimizing sleep. So-called nap pods, futuristic armchairs, invite you to power napping while being inspired by exciting waking rooms. However, the current tools are only the beginning and it is certainly only a matter of time before a mix of pharmacy, neuroscience and high-tech innovation guides us into the best possible sleep for us.

The extreme types

It is no longer uncommon for some managers to make their way to the office before sunrise in order to be able to devote themselves undisturbed to their brainstorming. While Elon Musk is said to be able to sleep for six hours, Richard Branson is just 5 hours into his sleep, and Marissa Mayer spent an incredible four hours of sleep a night during her Yahoo hours.

Kicker Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, is said to never sleep more than 90 minutes at a time. From the point of view of sleep research, however, it is only a matter of time before physiological and mental productivity takes revenge on such extreme sleep rhythms.

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