You are what you eat. And the same can be said about sleep. “If someone is fatigued, foggy, unable to concentrate, struggling to remember information or frequently ill, it indicates poor sleep habits; and vice versa,” says sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo.
If you have zero trouble falling asleep, sleep through the night like a baby and wake up feeling refreshed, congratulations: It will definitely help your career. And the opposite is also true. “Tired workers are 66% more likely to make mistakes, 70% more likely to become sick and 40% more likely to become anxious,” says Arezzolo, who shared some insights from her “Signature 7-Step Bedtime Routine” and Sleep Saboteurs: Why You Wake Up at 3 a.m.” ebooks with us.
You wake up during the night
Do you often find yourself waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Are you a light sleeper who gets disrupted by the slightest noise? If so, stress might be getting to you. The effects of feeling anxious or having trouble disconnecting from work can carry on way past the point when you doze off. Stress produces cortisol, which affects your body’s ability to stay asleep.
Waking up during the night can also mean you tend to indulge in happy hours that stretch way into the evening. Drinking before bed might feel relaxing, but once the sedative effect wears off you experience what researchers call the “rebound effect,” which kicks your nervous system into overdrive and wakes you up.
You have trouble falling asleep
If you toss and turn for what seems like forever before being able to fall asleep, you may be the kind of person who loves to scroll through Instagram in bed or watch Netflix before closing your eyes. And the blue light from screens is messing with your body’s circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates your energy throughout the day and is primarily controlled by light.
“In the absence of light, you produce melatonin — helping you stay asleep. In the presence of light, you produce cortisol — helping you stay awake. Whilst this is ideal during the day, it’s obviously not in the evening,” says Arezzolo.
“Being on your phone late at night can lead to insufficient sleep — heightening stress hormone cortisol by 37%. This makes you feel agitated, apprehensive and ‘wired’.”
You feel foggy in the morning regardless of how much you slept
If getting out of bed feels like torture, you may be someone who showers in the morning rather than at night. Yes, you read that right. Here’s how showering is related to sleep: Good sleep is about quality as much as quantity. And waking up still feeling groggy can be a sign that you have trouble accessing deeper stages of sleep.
“In order to dive into a deep sleep, which is critical for mental and physical rejuvenation, you need high levels of melatonin. As melatonin is produced after a drop in core body temperature, emerging to your cooler bathroom after a steamy shower facilitates this process,” says Arezzolo.
You regularly power through the day on only a few hours of sleep
According to Arezzolo’s “Signature 7-Step Bedtime Routine” ebook, 52% of individuals report feeling moody and agitated when lacking sleep. So if you tend to skimp on sleep in order to be more productive, know that this may make you more prone to losing patience at work. Furthermore, studies show 29% of all workplace errors are caused by a lack of sleep. So not prioritizing sleep can actually translate into mistakes such as sending an email too fast or letting an important task fall through the cracks.
You sleep deeply and wake up feeling rested
Not all sleep habits unveil areas of improvement. If you fall asleep easily and wake up feeling ready to take on the world after snoozing for eight hours, it might just show how much you value yourself and your health. Prioritizing your sleep is a form of self-care. “If a person is struggling to prioritize their sleep, it reflects a poor sense of self-valuing too, and a lack of understanding around the importance of sleep for happiness, health, and career success,” says Arezzolo.