If you speak to ten different people in a room and ask them how much sleep they typically enjoy a night, the chances are that the answers will vary considerably. While everyone may have a different opinion on the required hours, it is universally accepted that good sleep is crucial for a healthy and productive lifestyle.
Here, we explain the importance of getting a good night’s sleep while outlining some quick and easy ways to improve your own.
Why is a good night’s sleep important for work?
If we regularly fall short in our sleep, it can affect our day-to-day tasks and movements. Of course, sleep cannot always be consistent (parents, we feel your pain!); however, it is often an aspect that is ignored when Continuing Professional Development.
There are countless variables that you can’t control when progressing through your career, but getting good quality sleep is one of the few that you can. It’s all well and good spending time learning a new skill, but if you don’t have the energy and focus to complete it, then you’re immediately on the back foot.
Where possible, plan your evening and morning routines around maximising your amount of sleep as a priority.
How much sleep do I need before work?
Seven to eight hours is often quoted as the benchmark for a “good night’s sleep”. This is enough time to cycle through the required stages of sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Is all sleep the same?
Quantity isn’t the only factor - sleep quality dramatically affects your effectiveness the following day. Two people can sleep for an identical eight hours and wake up feeling drastically different because of how they slept.
You're breaking up your sleep rhythm if you regularly wake up and struggle to get back to sleep. You’ll likely feel groggy the next day, even though your combined hours may total the desired number.
What benefits does a good night’s sleep have?
If you sleep well, the next day you are much more likely to:
- Be more attentive
- Be more creative
- Have a better reaction time
- Retain information more easily
How do I improve my sleep?
As with any personal development, much of this lies in several marginal gains. There isn’t likely to be one fundamental change that will suddenly change the way you sleep - instead, a few minor changes over a consistent period are likely to help you see progress. Here are just a few possible areas.
Sleep Nutrition: Eating well and ensuring your diet is varied with a good intake of nutrients will impact both your energy during the day and your ability to sleep at night.
Not only that, the timing of your evening meal can significantly impact your sleep quality. Eat too late, and your body will still be processing your food and cause you to feel uncomfortable (or even more energetic), whereas eating too early can prompt you to wake up earlier for your first meal of the day.
If you’d like more information on the subject, we host a number of CPD-accredited sleep nutrition courses on behalf of our members on our website.
Reduced Blue Light: Smartphones are undoubtedly one of the best inventions of our lifetime. However, carefully consider your usage as you get towards the end of the day. The blue light emitted from the screens can trick your body into thinking it’s daytime as it mimics the effect of the sun, causing you to feel more awake.
It’s recommended that you put the phone away at least an hour before going to bed - trust us, Twitter can wait until the morning!
Routine: Our bodies love predictability, and a consistent sleep routine will do wonders. Aiming to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day will give you the foundations of a good night’s sleep.
Within our CPD Courses Catalogue you can find a range of accredited sleep courses, which give you practical advice on building routines and improving your sleep quality. You can use the CPD search bar to find relevant learning for your ongoing professional development.
Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the largest and leading independent Continuing Professional Development accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to become a CPD Provider, please contact our team to discuss your requirements in more detail. Alternatively if you are looking to record your CPD, please go the myCPD Portal where you can manage, track and log your learning in one simple place.