Tag Archives: sleep

Is Lack of Sleep Killing Your Career

Awake At WorkAccording to the National Sleep Foundation, many workers don’t get proper sleep and feel tired throughout the day. Chronic drowsiness and sleep deprivation cause many people issues at work, and many say they feel their work is “sub-par” because of it.

A 2008 Sleep in America poll discovered that 29 percent of employees polled admitted to falling asleep or becoming “very sleepy” at work during the previous month. An additional 12 percent said sleepiness caused them to be late to work within the last month.

Swing shift workers, those who juggle multiple jobs and people with irregular work hours seem to be the hardest hit by sleep issues. Chronic sleep deprivation is also tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

Chronic Issue
Sleep is often the first thing people give up when faced with heavy workloads, parenting responsibilities, irregular work schedules and time-consuming challenges. The same NSF poll of sleep habits and the workplace found that while workers said they needed an average of seven hours and 18 minutes of sleep per night to be at their best the next workday, they reported an average of six hours and 40 minutes.

Even modest amounts of sleep loss accumulate over time, so a few nights of poor sleep can have a major impact on daily functioning, according to the NSF.

Loss of sleep isn’t just an inconvenience either. In high-risk fields such as medicine, the NSF discovered that when on-call residents work overnight, they have “twice as many attention failures, commit 36 percent more serious medical errors and report 300 percent more medical errors that lead to death than those who work a 16-hour shift.”

Tell-tale Signs That Lack of Sleep Is Affecting Your Career
Sleep deprivation can lead to “tremendous emotional problems,” according to Dr. Steven Feinsilver, the director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Signs that employees are suffering from sleep problems include increased hunger, weight gain, memory problems, difficulty in making decisions, reduced motor skills, emotional fluctuations, poor vision and frequent illness.

These symptoms can lead to consequences that have a major impact on your career.

Quick Tips to Get More Sleep

Employees who have these symptoms or think that lack of sleep is hurting their performance can take steps to reverse the trend.

  • Get evaluated by a physician to identify or rule out a treatable medical condition.
  • Take advantage of sleep diaries and other resources from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
  • Ask a physician to refer you to a sleep specialist or center.
  • Evaluate your career and priorities. Ask to reduce irregular hours or consider a job that does not require shift work.
  • Have an honest conversation with a supervisor about how lack of sleep is affecting your performance and try to find a mutually-beneficial solution.
  • Stick to a sleep schedule in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on days off.
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
  • Limit stress by engaging in relaxing activities before bed, like meditation, reading or taking hot baths.

Although everyone has the occasional sleepless night, chronic sleep problems should be taken seriously before they negatively impact both you and your career.

Time to Fall Back and Gain an Hour

If getting out of bed while it’s still dark outside is getting old, have no fear. This weekend, that all changes.

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, most of North America, and other countries around the world, will gain an hour as daylight saving time comes to a close. Daylight saving time (DST) was first implemented to save energy and make better use of daylight in Thunder Bay, Canada, in 1908, according to Timeanddate.com. A daylight saving time law was introduced and signed by United States President Woodrow Wilson in 1918, but it was repealed only seven months later. DST has undergone several changes since then, but was more regulated in 1966 under the Uniform Time Act. The act established one pattern across the country, exempting states in which the legislatures voted to opt out.

Despite gaining an hour of sleep this weekend, you may actually feel even more tired than usual when you go into work on Monday morning. Follow these great tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Version 2 Daylight SAvings Time
Click for bigger image

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How to Start Making Use of Your Extra Hour

extra_hour_webThe end of Daylight Savings Time in America means night falls quicker and the sun rises earlier, which gives you an extra hour each day – but not for long. Before you fall into the routine of your past schedule, make use of that extra hour with these tips to help boost your career or job search.

Even though you may have a regular schedule now that the time change has passed, there are still some extra steps you can take to make a difference in your job search or career.

1. Catch up on sleep

Sure, this sounds counter-productive, but using that extra hour to catch up on ZZZs will make you more successful. Why?

According to The Sleep Foundation, many Americans show up to work drowsy and say they turn in sub-par work performances on a regular basis. A Sleep in America® poll found that 29% of people admitted to sleeping or feeling sleepy at work in the previous month, and 12% were late to work in the last month because of sleepiness.

Get your sleep, and you’ll get better results.

2. Tackle a to-do list

If your to-do list is covered in dust, it’s time to get to work. Put in extra effort to complete little chores like freshening up your resume or sending out requests for references without having to make time in your regular schedule.

3. Begin reading a helpful book

Career-enhancement books or articles on job seeking contain useful and valuable information. Sadly, many job-seekers are too busy looking for work to sit and read. Take an extra hour to find articles or books that are inspiring, creative, educational, helpful, and engaging.

4. Start an exercise program

Counteract the grogginess that comes the end of Daylight Savings Time with a brisk walk in the fall air or by hopping on that bike that’s been sitting in the garage. Regular exercise helps with your career and motivation as well.

According to new research, workers who participated in some form of physical activity experienced significantly lower instances of depression and burnout at work.

5. Pamper yourself

Take the extra hour and use it to treat yourself to light meditation, yoga, a pedicure, a massage, or whatever helps you relax. Stress from work or job hunting can take its toll, so finding time to indulge in your hobbies or relaxation may be just what you need.

6. Organize your workspace

Whether you work at an office or from home, time to arrange and organize your desk or workspace is time well spent. Messy homes and work areas not only give a bad impression to co-workers and clients, they also add to daily stress by leaving you feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

7. Sign up to volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to add spark to your resume in between jobs and add to your skills. Volunteering also shows recruiters that you are a “do-er,” not someone who waits around for opportunities. Contact your local charity to find opportunities to help others while also helping your career.

How do you plan to use your extra hour? Do you have some ideas that we’ve missed? Share your advice in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

4 Tips for a Stress-Free Interview

stress_free_interview_webNo matter how experienced or confident you are in your professional life, when you’re approaching a job interview, you feel the pressure. It’s stressful knowing that you have just a short while to impress an employer and convince them that you’re the best fit for the position. There are ways, though, to alleviate your stress. In fact, these four tips can put you on the path to a stress-free interview.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
You may have heard it a million times, but preparation is absolutely key for a successful interview. And, if you know you’ve done everything you can possibly do to set yourself up for a positive interview experience, then you’ll feel less pressure. So make sure you check-off each item on your interview to-do list and take time to think through some of the interview questions you expect to be asked. It’s also good to review what not to do during an interview so you can avoid the top three interview sins.

Burn Off the Jitters
Nothing blasts stress away like working up a sweat. The morning of your interview, schedule time to do at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise. Whether it’s taking a brisk walk, lifting weights, or doing yoga, this physical activity will burn off your jitters and help you relax. A recent article from Huffington Post revealed that exercise is not only good for your heart, but also boosts your mood, self-confidence, ability to cope with future stress, and brain function. If you don’t have time in the morning, then fit a workout in the evening before. This can also have the added benefit of helping you sleep better.

Ease Up On the Caffeine
While it may be tempting to down some caffeinated beverages before your interview, don’t do it! Ken Yeager, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Ohio State University, told Huffington Post, “Caffeine is always going to make stress worse.” Plus, it will further compound your feelings of pressure and stress by impacting your sleep quality. So stay away from caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda, as well as chocolate, which is an often-overlooked caffeine source.

Get Some Shut-Eye
In case you haven’t caught on from the previous tips, sleep is important to the success of your interview! Nothing adds pressure to a situation like feeling tired, sleep-deprived, and out-of-sorts. And, as international neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart explained in a CNN report, “On top of the obvious health risks, when you have any sleep disturbance, your IQ drops by 5-8 points.” That means a good night’s rest can make the difference between impressing a future employer and bombing the interview.

Job interviews can be one of the most stressful situations you face in life. But, it is within your power to decrease your stress and alleviate the pressure so you’re able to walk into your interview ready to impress.

What has helped you cope with the stress of an upcoming interview? How do you ensure you’re at your best? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

C’mon, Get Active! How to Stay Productive After a Long Day at Work

Get active after a long day at workAfter working a full shift of physical toil, mental stress, or both, nothing sounds better than plopping your exhausted bones into the sweet embrace of your couch, chair, or bed. The problem is that when we are safely embracing the soft cushions and relaxing, we tend to stay there. Time flies as we watch TV, surf the internet, or chat on the phone. Before we know it, the sun is down and it’s time for us to sleep before we start the routine over again.

Sometimes things don’t get done after work and we wonder what happened to our day. It’s hard to force ourselves to work on other projects after a day’s work, but we’re missing out on a great opportunity to follow our passions and grow our skills. Here are ways to be productive, stay active, and have fun after working all day.

Plan Your Passion
It’s easy to get distracted without planning your after-work events. Write down which activities you will want to do and how much time you should devote to them. This may vary since some people don’t want to think about lists and schedules after work, but for the most part, you will be more inclined to do those activities when it’s printed somewhere and you are visually reminded that are goals to meet.

You can also improve your chances of being more productive by working on the things that matter the most to you. Choose activities that you’re most passionate about and naturally drawn to. Sign up for the hobbies, classes, or activities that you love. You’ll be more motivated to spend those precious after work hours on them.

Be Like a Shark
Some species of sharks can’t pump water through their gills and must swim without rest. If they stop, they could suffocate. While you don’t need to be constantly moving without sleep, many people who come home from work sit down, but never get back up. To improve your chances, start on projects as soon as you get home, or participate in activities as soon as work is over to avoid  never getting back up. If you must rest, give yourself 10 minutes, depending on your self-control, and then get going again.

Make it a Date
One of the best ways to stay active is to have someone join you. You can keep each other accountable, and you’ll have more fun with a friend tagging along. Having an “accountabilibuddy” is a proven method to help people commit to something and stay committed for a longer period of time.

Make Your Mornings Count
If you really, really have no desire to be active after work, consider doing a few extra things when you wake up and before going to work. Rest, relax, and recharge your batteries after work so you can go to bed early. This way you can wake up earlier to read a book, exercise, or work on a pet project. Also, studies have shown that people who wake up early are more productive and are better positioned for career success.

Generally, your first instinct after work is to lie down and never get up, but with these helpful hints, you can enjoy an active lifestyle that can improve your quality of life, help you become a better leader, and position you better for promotion. What are some of your after-hours activity guidelines? How do you stay motivated? Let me hear your story in the comments below.