World Sleep Day 2021: 5 reasons why and how sleep will impact working individuals in the post-COVID era

Updated: Mar 19, 2021 5:01 PM

The 14th annual World Sleep Day is organized by the World Sleep Society in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of sleep.

Unfortunately, today, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple factors are impacting our sleep.

By Ankit Gaur

We might have heard the phrase ‘You snooze, you lose’, at some point in our lives. This, however, is far from the truth. Indisputably, sleep is one of the most essential things for any living being. However, in today’s tech-driven world where we are surrounded by gadgets, sleep appears to be elusive, with the topic garnering plenty of attention in recent years.

According to medical professionals, an average human should get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep. Nothing can replace a good night’s sleep as sleep helps our mind and body heal. Lack of sleep can give way to a myriad of mental and physical issues such as irritability, tiredness, lack of energy, etc. Moreover, lack of adequate sleep also affects one’s ability to perform at the workplace or in academics.

Unfortunately, today, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple factors are impacting our sleep such as poor diet and lifestyle, too much screen time, stress, anxiety, and more. With the pandemic forcing the world to adopt remote working, our work schedules have become unstructured, despite offering the advantage of flexibility. This, in turn, is profoundly impacting our sleep, and thereby performance, while putting us at risk of mental and physical ailments.

The 14th annual World Sleep Day is organized by the World Sleep Society in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of sleep. So, let’s take a look at 5 reasons why and how sleep will impact working individuals in the post-pandemic era ahead of the World Sleep Day which falls on 19th March 2021 this year.

The sleep debt predicament

Sleep debt is a simple way to underscore the importance of sleep. Almost all of us would have experienced some days where we find that we are unable to sleep for a variety of reasons. However, losing good quality sleep even for a day can put your body in a state of sleep debt that no amount of caffeine or sleeping during the day can replace. Being in sleep debt will automatically leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and exhausted throughout the day.

Performance decider

As touched upon earlier, the adequacy of sleep we get plays an instrumental role in determining our performance. With the remote working model set to prevail for the foreseeable future, working individuals, most of whom are finding it challenging to strike a work-life balance, must ensure their sleep is uninterrupted. We often go to bed and scroll through our social media pages before we sleep. This habit can affect your sleep as the blue light emitted from our smartphones makes it harder for us to fall asleep.

It would bode well to put aside your gadgets at least 30 minutes before and practice a healthy sleep routine. Once we are accustomed to a fixed sleep schedule and adhere to it, we will naturally feel less irritable or tired and more energetic and refreshed, thereby being able to channel the energy into improving our productivity at work. Regular, quality sleep can enable you to focus, learn, and retain information better.

Lack of sleep = increased stress

The world is collectively facing a turbulent time. With several people facing job losses, reduced salaries, loss of loved ones, and general anxiety surrounding our health, we are more prone to increased stress levels than ever before. During such a time, it is all the more necessary that we ensure our sleep is unaffected. While stress can affect our sleep, lack of sleep results in increased stress levels. Seems like a never-ending cycle doesn’t it? Simple things such as the environment, the surface you sleep on, gadgets, and a healthy diet can work wonders in reducing stress levels and facilitating quality sleep.

Healing the mind and body

A majority of our body and mind’s healing process takes place while we sleep. By merely 8 hours of proper sleep every day, we are allowing our body and mind to rejuvenate and refresh, and therefore, function more effectively. For working individuals, especially in the post-COVID scenario as we try to revive our lives, sleep is of utmost importance to prevent us from falling ill and enabling us to think better.

Unwanted weight gain

Well-rested individuals are less prone to making errors or being forgetful of things. Moreover, lack of sleep often leads to obesity, increased heart rates, and higher blood pressure, ultimately increasing stress once again. Especially with the pandemic confining us to our homes for the majority of the time, weight gain can become a major problem amongst working individuals who tend to sit for long hours.

Improving sleep quality

Simple yet effective changes can have a monumental impact on the quality of sleep you get. Ensure your bed is comfortable and ergonomically designed, create a tranquil atmosphere in your bedroom, avoid using gadgets in bed, limit your caffeine intake during the day, steer clear of heavy, oily meals right before sleeping, and keep a fixed schedule that allows you to get at least 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep. This World Sleep Day, let’s give sleep its due credit for keeping us healthy and allowing us to be at our best while working and work towards ensuring adequate, quality sleep every day.

(The author is DGM, Sales & Marketing, Livpure Sleep. Views expressed are personal.)

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