Is Work Causing You To Lose Sleep?

By Mel Sim

If the answer is yes, you better read on…

Tossing and turning every night, just thinking about work and all that you have to do? Or perhaps something at work is bugging you, maybe a controlling boss or a colleague spreading rumours about you?

You are not alone, sleepless in Malaysia.

According to this survey by insurance company AIA, 54.4 percent of Malaysian employees are sleep deprived, getting less than seven hours of sleep. The same survey also found that 51 percent are suffering from at least one dimension of work-related stress while 20 percent said they are affected by workplace bullying, adding on to their stress at work. Some say it is the fear of not performing or worried about what the boss might think of them that’s causing the lack of sleep. No wonder why so many of you aren’t sleeping!

The culture of overworking not just in Malaysia but most Asian countries also manifest in sleep deprivation.

Maybe you are sleep deprived simply because you can’t tear yourself away from work (hello, workaholic much?). You don’t have boundaries that tell you it’s time to get off the clock and stop checking and replying emails. You obsess over work, which isn’t a bad thing… until it starts affecting your sleep because your body and mind have no clue on how to shut down and just do nothing.

We get it that you are so focused on your career. But the repercussions of not getting enough Zzzs will have some serious effect. First, stress – whether it is caused by work or anything else – keeps you awake at night because you can’t switch on, constantly thinking of the issue or problem. Instead of feeling relax and sleepy, you’re feeling anxious and on the edge. You try to get some sleep but you can’t seem to unwind.

By the time your brain has finally succumb to the fatigue, it’s already past 12 and you’re not getting the hours you need to recharge for the next day to be 100 percent effective – kinda like how a phone that isn’t charged won’t have the juice to last the entire day.

Worst, you’ve slept so late and am so knackered that you completely missed your alarm, getting up way too late to get to work on time. Imagine if you had an important meeting (which caused you to lose sleep the night before) the next morning! What would the boss say?

Sleep deprivation will also have a lasting effect on your health. Do you find yourself falling sick easily? Yups – not getting enough sleep will do that to you. Constantly have the sniffles? Guess what’s the culprit.

Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just affect you; it affects those around you and the company as well. Because if you’re not sleeping, you’re going to have lower productivity. You won’t be putting in the effort you’re supposed to (because you’re just too darn tired) and this can affect your team. Snowball it all and it could affect the company when a project is not delivered as it is supposed to because those involved are zzz-deprived.

What can you do? Get more sleep of course!

But it is easier said than done. Insomnia is not something easy to cure. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to stare at the ceiling at night during sleep time. Here are a few things you can start doing if you want to save your sleep:

1. Stop watching TV an hour before bed
Because let’s be honest, one episode will turn into two episodes then three episodes and by the time you’ve finally said OK, it’s way past your bedtime. Learn how to control your entertainment at night here.

2. Keep the phone off
You don’t think much of just browsing through Facebook and Instagram right before you sleep. In fact, it’s become almost like a night-time routine. Well, guess what? That light from your devices can cause melatonin suppression, which affects your natural body clock. Your natural sleep cycle has been disrupted, causing you to have difficulties falling and staying asleep. It keeps you wide awake!

Turn off your gadgets 30 minutes before bed if you value sleep. If before bedtime is when you catch up on reading, consider getting yourself a Kindle as it does not have a luminous display that keeps you awake. You can also put your phone to sleep so that it doesn’t buzz whenever you get an email (sorry, boss!) or a social media notification.

3. Stick a foot out from under your blanket
Sounds weird but it works. How? It is all about body temperature. Right before you sleep, your body naturally drop in temperature and it is at its lowest in your deepest stage of sleep. Your feet help regulate your body temperature by allowing more blood to reach the surface of your skin to cool your body down. When your temperature drops, yups – you start to get drowsy, much like your body’s natural pre-sleep cooling process. Watch this video by the National Sleep Foundation in the US to learn exactly how it works.

4. Don’t look at the time
Been awake for a while now? Looking at the time will make you even more stressed about how little sleep you’re getting… or how you only have a few more hours left before you have to wake up the next morning.

5. Stay away from the late-night makans
One boba tea or mamak supper won’t hurt, right? Wrong. That’s because instead of being rested, your body is working hard to digest the food you’ve just consumed, making it uncomfortable and difficult for you to sleep.

Try all these and get some serious sleep tonight!

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

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