7 Ways to Avoid Sleep Deprivation if Work Has You Waking Up Too Early

7 minute read

While there are a few early birds out there, for most people early mornings are not fun. An early start to work can be made even worse if the weather is bad or if you happen to not like your job. But nothing makes early mornings worse than not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation can not only make you tired and grumpy, but it can interfere with your health on a number of levels. So, there may be advantages to starting work a little later in the day.

Your Biological Rhythm and Productivity

A recent study found that when people are forced to start work before 10 am, they are more exhausted and stressed, as well as at a higher risk for illness. In people under the age of 55, the circadian rhythm is not in sync with standard 9 to 5 operating hours, which means working these shifts could pose a big health risk for you physically and mentally.

Your circadian rhythm can’t be changed or ignored. Getting up at certain times, and starting the day before you're in tune with the rhythm can affect your performance and mood for the day.

Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night also has a physical impact on you. Over 700 changes occur in your genes as a result of sleep deprivation, and this can cause a number of health problems.

♦ Reduced attention, which can result in accidents as individuals become easily distracted

♦ Memory impairment because your brain processes memories as you sleep so this ability becomes compromised the less you sleep

Poor performance occurs as a result of being tired. In many cases, people are unaware that their performance is suffering.

♦ Lack of motivation, which can lead to depression at the job as well as depression in life.

♦ Exhaustion, which can result in more errors at work and potential accidents. Both of which can cause injury and cost money.

♦ Impulsiveness and irritability, which can take its toll on both working and personal relationships

♦ Weight gain is caused as a result of excess inflammation in the body. Lack of sleep causes cortisol (stress hormone) to run high in your body and this increases inflammation, which triggers fat storage.

♦ Elevated blood pressure, which over an extended period of time can lead to heart problems and cardiovascular disease

Getting a good night's sleep is essential to your health and longevity. Not only can your work performance suffer, but your health will decline as a result of poor sleep habits. If left uncorrected your risk for serious disease and even death increases.

The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and the sleep needs to be restful to be beneficial.

| Related: You Need Sleep: The Real Cost of Late Nights Out |

How to Prevent Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can be prevented by starting your day later if there’s an option with your company. This means it’s up to you to make sure you get enough sleep and are ready for that early morning start.

By following the tips below, you can get the rest you need and be ready each morning, regardless of the time you need to clock in.

1. Reduce Blue Light Exposure

Blue lights are on all electronic devices like your phones and tablets, and you need to reduce the time in front of these before bed. Blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime, so it doesn’t sufficiently prepare you for sleep.

If you must use your phone at night, be sure to apply a protective screen or use an app that reduces the light.

2. Do Not Take Naps

Short naps can be beneficial in the afternoon to boost your energy levels, but irregular naps or naps late in the day can disrupt sleep. Never nap for more than 30 minutes and never after 3 p.m.

3. Set a Regular Schedule

Setting a regular schedule for waking up and going to bed will help your body and brain get into a routine. Having consistent sleep and wake times, even over the weekends, will be healthier for your body and promote better sleep at night. Irregular sleep patterns will disturb your natural circadian rhythm, which will result in poor sleep.

4. Supplemental Support

Melatonin is a natural hormone your body produces to help you sleep. Because it’s natural, melatonin supplements are a great way to promote sleepiness and enhance sleep.

Other supplements that have also been known to improve sleep quality include lavender, magnesium, glycine, and ginkgo Biloba.

5. Avoid Stimulants

It should be obvious that drinking coffee before bed is a bad idea. Caffeine can linger in your system, so it’s important to remember not to drink too much in the afternoons either.

Alcohol is also a stimulant and has been known to increase insomnia, as well as worsen symptoms of sleep apnea. Alcohol also alters your melatonin production, so it should be avoided late in the evening.

6. Set the Mood

It’s easier to fall asleep when you’re comfortable. Your bedroom environment is essential to getting a night of quality sleep. Be sure to set a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. For hot summer nights, be sure to have a fan, so long as it runs quietly.

Make sure your bedroom is quiet and all artificial lights are blocked out.

7. Do Not Eat Too Late

Eating late in the evening impacts your sleep as well as your digestion. Because your body slows down at night, those late-night snacks may not be properly digested. Your melatonin production can be altered by eating late, especially with high carbohydrate meals. If you must have a snack late in the evening, stick to one that is low in sugar and low in carbohydrates.

The Bottom Line

Forcing your body to wake up earlier than it wants to (against your circadian rhythm) will take its toll on you. The physical and mental strain your body comes under as a result of not getting enough sleep is comparable to a form of torture.

It’s believed that sleeping in and starting your workday a little later will have multiple benefits for your work performance, your mood, and your physical well-being.

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