The Critical Importance of Sleep to Your Personal Productivity

SLEEP: Learn to Love the Last Letter of the Alphabet

You might be surprised to learn that there’s a simple treatment that boosts energy levels, improves memory, increases your ability to concentrate, strengthens your immune system, and decreases your risk of death and injury in accidents. Amazingly, it costs absolutely nothing, and is available to anyone. It’s called “sleep.” Ever heard of it?

Quality, restful, undisturbed sleep is one of the keys to maximizing your daytime energy level, but it may take a little tinkering to find what’s right for you. Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Catch the right number of Z’s. Experiment with finding the amount of sleep that’s right for you, and stick with it religiously — even on the weekends and holidays!

2. Nap wisely. If you absolutely have to take a nap, limit it to one hour — and don’t nap at all if you suffer from insomnia.

3. Treat sleep disorders. If you can’t get any rest, have yourself tested for sleep disorders. There are over 100, and each can interfere with your physical and emotional well being.

4. Lose weight. Obesity and poor sleep patterns go hand-in-hand, and just make each other worse. Your only real choice is to nip obesity in the bud.

5. Reset your body clock. Faulty circadian rhythms can foul up the timing of your normal sleep/wake cycle. The fix? Work to reset your body clock naturally.

6. Create the right sleep environment. Your bedroom should be your sleeping sanctuary, not a place to read, knit, or watch TV. If your body associates bed with sleep, you’ll get to sleep more quickly and sleep better.

7. Eat, drink, and be sleepy. Never go to bed hungry, but don’t go to bed right after dinner either. In addition, you should watch your intake of alcohol, water, and stimulants late in the evening.

8. Sleep well when traveling.  Look for hotels, like the Crowne Plaza chain, that understand the need for great sleep and provide for it. If you plan to travel several time zones away, try resetting your body clock in advance.

Never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll suffer fatigue, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability the next day. While the body can dig into its reserves for a few days, inadequate sleep will eventually reduce your effectiveness at anything you attempt to do.

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.