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How Sleep Affects Productivity

The One Thing You Can Do to Dramatically Increase Productivity

If you constantly feel tired during the day, there could be a relatively simple solution to your lethargy problem — proper sleep.

Sure, we hear that all the time, but maybe it doesn't really hit home for many people. Take, for example, the case of Kevin Crain, managing director of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who suffered a heart attack at 46 even though he exercised regularly, wasn't overweight, and had no signs of heart disease in his family history. To improve his lifestyle, Crain hired Tony Schwartz, a performance expert, who advised him to get more sleep than his usual less-than-six-hours-a-night sleep. The optimum amount of sleep, according to studies, is seven to eight hours. Schwartz writes on the Harvard Business Review:

Kevin did exactly that, and dutifully from day one. There is no single behavioral change we've seen in our work with thousands of executives that more quickly and powerfully influences mood, focus, and productivity than a full night's sleep . . . In the past, he'd find himself exhausted by mid-morning. Now, when he got to work around 8:30 or 8:45 am, he felt a higher and more consistent level of energy. In turn, he had more focus and more clarity all the way through to lunch, even if his meetings ran back to back. In the evenings, when he got home, Kevin felt less drained and more present with his family.

If you can't seem to get out of your slump, try the recommended amount of sleep for a full night's rest. And remember, oversleeping can also have a negative impact on your health, so do your best to stick to the suggested amount, and see what effect it'll have on your life.

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