It's bedtime and you still have two more hours of work to do. Should you stay up later to get your work done? Or just call it a day even though your unfinished work will mean you have more to do tomorrow?
While staying up an extra hour or two to finish your work can be tempting, missing just a few hours of sleep today can have serious consequences tomorrow. Here are seven reasons why the most productive people go to bed early:
1. You can't retain what you learn when you're tired.
The quantity and quality of your sleep plays a major role in your ability to learn new information. Sleep deprivation impairs your focus, attention, and working memory. That means you may have to repeat tasks several times and may be more likely to make careless mistakes.
2. Your mood becomes unstable when you're drained.
Studies show a lack of sleep can lead to increased irritability and mood changes. Skimping on sleep on a consistent basis sleep could lead to more serious psychological problems, such as anxiety disorders and depression.
3. Sleep deprivation impairs your judgment.
Lack of sleep greatly impairs your ability to make good decisions. A 2007 study in the journal Sleep found that sleep deprivation diminishes your moral judgments. Participants who had been deprived of sleep struggled to resolve moral dilemmas and their response time in making decisions was much slower.
4. Lack of sleep increases your risk of accidents.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School report that insomnia is responsible for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors each year. That costs employers up to $31 billion annually.
Sleep deprivation impairs everything from your motor skills to your reaction time. So whether you fall down a flight stairs or you crash a forklift, missing a few hours of much-needed sleep can cost you and your employer a lot of time and money.
5. Your health deteriorates when you aren't well-rested.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, obesity high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. It also reduces infection-fighting antibodies, which means your immune system becomes weaker and places you at a higher risk of illness. Inadequate sleep has even been linked to a shorter lifespan.
6. Your efficiency plummets when you're sleepy.
Despite being present physically, you won't be 100% present mentally when you're sleep-deprived. Studies estimate that people who aren't getting enough sleep cost their employers about 11.3 days of work each year in reduced productivity.
7. Fatigue reduces your ability to handle stress.
Sleep deprivation robs you of mental strength and impairs your ability to deal with stressful events. Research shows that missing just a few hours of sleep diminishes a person's ability to deal with negative circumstances.
Get Adequate Sleep
While you can recover from an occasional late night or two, making it a regular habit to stay up late can lead to a sleep deficit that you won't be able to repay. If you want your body and brain to function at their peak, strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, keynote speaker, and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into 23 languages. To learn how to build your mental muscle, sign up for her eCourse Mental Strength: Mastering the 3 Core Factors.