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Parents: Is Your Poor Sleep Affecting Your Productivity?

Updated: Mar 4

A woman falling asleep while working at her computer

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In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to find a healthy balance between work and rest. With all you have to do to care for the kids and family, getting your ZZZ's isn't always easy.

Not getting enough sleep can lead to problems with focus, sustained attention to tasks, and overall productivity (it also takes a huge toll on our immune system).

If keeping a hectic schedule sometimes leaves you feeling sleep-deprived, you’re not alone.

It’s important to find healthy ways to unwind so you can get the quality sleep you need. It’s equally important to be able to recognize the factors that affect your sleep patterns to give you the best chance of getting a good, restful night’s sleep.

Here are some important considerations when it comes to your sleep routine affecting your productivity:

Pay Attention to Your Current Sleep Habits

Don’t underestimate the power of your evening activities as part of preparing for a good night’s sleep.

Being ‘plugged in’ to social media right up until bedtime can make it hard to turn off your brain when you are trying to fall asleep.

Also, while a bedtime snack can be just what you need to hold you over until the morning, choosing a healthy snack over a sugary or otherwise ‘heavy’ snack can go a long way to support a good night’s sleep.

Many people don’t seem to get the right amount of quality sleep, and most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Try to create a sleep routine and environment that promotes relaxation and helps you to drift off to sleep most easily.

A man asleep with his head on the table at an office meeting

Watch Your Caffeine Intake

You may not always stop to think about it but that cup of coffee in the afternoon or too much chocolate later in the day can really impact your sleep.

Caffeine is a stimulant and it can certainly stimulate your brain to the point where you cannot ‘turn off’ your thoughts at night.

Unfortunately, caffeine-induced insomnia can lead to a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling drowsy and groggy the next day. You’re then more likely to reach for that ‘pick me up’ cup of caffeine in the afternoon, starting the overstimulated-sleeplessness cycle all over again.

Be Sure It’s Not Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is another way that sleep may be affecting your productivity. Apnea is a common yet serious problem that you may not even know you have.

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscle present at the back of your throat relaxes too much and blocks your airway. This causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start, and you wake up when this happens without being totally aware of what is happening.

This interrupted sleep pattern can leave you feeling unrested. Loud snoring is associated with sleep apnea. If you believe you may suffer from sleep apnea, talk with your doctor to rule out or treat the condition.

A woman with her eyes closed working at a computer

Rule Out Food Intolerance or Allergy

You might not have thought about it, but your food choices can impact your overall level of alertness throughout the day and can also contribute to difficulties falling and staying asleep.

If you skip meals during the day, you might be left feeling lethargic and weak. Also, if your diet consists of a lot of processed foods, you are missing essential nutrients. Just like when you skip meals, this can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate and cause low energy levels and fatigue.

Recognize Feelings of Depression or Anxiety

We all might tend to worry or get down sometimes. It’s common to experience these feelings, but if you experience extended bouts of sadness or anxiety, you might also develop related physical symptoms, including daytime fatigue and difficulty sleeping at night.

If you've been feeling excessively tired as well as feeling depressed or increasingly anxious for a few weeks, it would be a good idea to talk with your doctor. He or she will be able to evaluate your symptoms and to provide treatment recommendations to help you.

When it comes to our productivity and our overall wellness, sleep is essential, so make the commitment to prioritize yourself. You're absolutely worth it.

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All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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