Tired person falling asleep at work

Sleep vs Work - Your Brain without Sleep

  • Article

5 min read

Whether working from home or at the office, getting enough quality sleep each night is one of the best ways to ensure a productive day. We’ve all experienced a sleepless night and feeling sluggish, moody and irritable the next day - not what you need when you’re facing an eight-hour shift!

All of us require plenty of shut-eye in order to function at our best, and a lack of sleep directly affects how we think and feel. Here’s a little bit more about the effects of sleep deprivation on your brain, as well as some top tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

How a lack of sleep affects your brain

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that late or sleepless nights have a dramatic impact on how you feel both mentally and physically. Without enough quality sleep, your brain simply struggles to function properly as it hasn’t had the time to fully recuperate, negatively impacting various types of thinking.

Poor sleep can be caused by a short time spent asleep, or even through a disrupted night, which makes it harder to progress through the sleep cycles in a natural and healthy way. These sleep cycles play an important role as they aid with mental recovery, which benefits attention, thinking and memory.

Getting between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted quality sleep, each night helps your brain to recuperate, leading to sharper thinking and concentration. So when you start enjoying a good night’s sleep consistently, you’ll not only feel well rested and alert each day, but you’ll find problem solving, creativity and judgement comes a lot easier too, which can even improve your performance at work.

Signs you’re not getting enough sleep

One of the main signs you’re not getting the sleep you need each night is a feeling of extreme tiredness the next day. You’ll likely experience daytime sleepiness, a lack of concentration, mood changes and a reduced attention span - all of which have a negative impact on your daily life. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Lack of focus and concentration

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Easily distracted

  • Feeling moody and irritable

  • Forgetfulness

  • Feeling sluggish and a lack of energy

  • Poor decision-making

  • Slower reaction times

When you don’t get the sleep you need, you’ll feel far less productive at work, be more likely to make mistakes, increase the risk of having an accident and find it hard to take in new information. What’s more, a lack of sleep impairs the functioning of your immune system too, making you more susceptible to infection.

Tips for a better night’s sleep

It’s clear to see that a great night’s sleep is key in order for us to feel refreshed and energised, and ready to take on whatever the day has in store. So, if you’re finding it hard to drift off, the good news is there are all kinds of things you can do to help, such as sticking to a sleep schedule and creating a restful bedroom environment. Check out these top tips for a better night’s sleep:

Stick to a sleep schedule - going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will help you get into a regular sleep pattern.

Create the best sleep environment - your bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet to promote quality sleep.

Unwind before bed - practising activities that promote relaxation, such as meditation, reading or listening to soothing sounds will set the scene for a blissful night’s sleep.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed - these stimulants have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep, so if you want to enjoy a full night of undisturbed sleep, then make sure to give caffeine and alcohol a miss in the evening.

Get plenty of exercise - regular exercise not only benefits your mental and physical health, but it also improves sleep quality and even reduces the time it takes to fall asleep.