We all know the feeling: you got caught up in your favourite show… you texted until 2 am with your BFF. Life happens, and sleep gets lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, when sleep gets missed, the job site can become a danger zone.

What happens to our bodies when we don’t get the rest we need?

  • We have trouble concentrating. Listening to customers and making change becomes very difficult, and operating machinery is just plain dangerous.
  • Driving becomes dangerous. Operating a motor vehicle while exhausted can lead to harm, and even fatalities, and is considered a form of impaired driving. Tired drivers cause thousands of crashes and fatalities in Canada every year.
  • We are more likely to get injured at work. Our reaction times are slower, and it’s harder to complete processes safely and without mistakes.
  • We can get depressed. Too little sleep means our brains don’t get to rest, which can lead to moodiness, anxiety and even depression.

So how much sleep do we actually need to function at peak performance?

Adults need 7-9 hours per night, and teens (14-17 years) need 8-10 hours per night.

Sometimes getting to bed at the right time is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help ease you into a good night’s sleep:

  • Try and get to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends. Our bodies are creatures of habit, and you’d be amazed at how easily you’ll fall asleep if you stick to a schedule.
  • Don’t overload yourself with “stuff”. If you are feeling overwhelmed and staying up late to get things done, or stressing, that’s going to result in lost sleep. Try and make a to-do list every day and separate it into “must-do” and “want-to-do”. The musts are things like homework, animal care, appointments, bill payments, etc. The rest can probably wait if it means an earlier bedtime.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. About a half hour before bed, start getting ready. Baths, books and (deep) breathing are the three B’s of bed time.
  • Power down for the night. Screen time right before you turn in can actually disturb your sleep pattern.
  • Get daily exercise. This one’s a no-brainer. The more you physically exert yourself, the easier it is to get to bed.
  • Limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine affects each of us differently, and cutting down on the amount of caffeine you’re ingesting daily can result in a longer, better quality sleep.

If you’ve tried everything and still aren’t getting the sleep you need, have a chat with your doctor. Check out this infographic about fatigue in the workplace for more information:

fatigue at work