It’s 2 a.m. and you’ve been up for 20 hours. Is this when you’re going to make your best decisions? Unless you’re the one in 100 people known as a “short sleeper,” the answer is no.
Anybody can perform a work “sprint”—but if you’re doing it week after week, it will take a toll on your work performance, says Sean Kerklaan, founder and CEO of Fatigue Science, a sleep analytics firm based in Vancouver. The company is best known for its work with 35 professional sports teams, including the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Canucks, but it has also rolled out an industrial platform used by companies including Rio Tinto to improve workplace safety.
Kerklaan, who spoke at the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. Roundup on January 27, shared these steps to improve your “sleep hygiene”:
- Adopt a consistent bedtime. It works for babies. It’ll work for you too.
- Don’t look at any electronic devices within the half hour before that bedtime. The light they emit, similar to daylight, can disrupt your circadian rhythms.
- Remove electronics from the bedroom—including alarm clocks. Once you start waking and looking at the time, it will condition your body to wake at this time.
- Get extra sleep over the week before a trip across time zones. You can actually build up your “sleep reservoir” so as to keep yourself sharper while on the road.
- Do not consume caffeinated drinks after 2 or 3 p.m. They won’t necessarily keep you up, but they will stop you from falling asleep readily.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your sleep with your family—or, if it’s a problem, with your doctor. Keeping it to yourself will only keep your mind racing as you stare at the ceiling.