The Importance of Sleep and Meditation for Happiness at Work

by Sara Westgreen

Everyone needs sleep to feel and perform their best. Without enough sleep, you’re just not as sharp as you could be, and your work and happiness can suffer as a result. But with adequate sleep and meditation, you lay a good foundation for happiness at work.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, your memory, concentration, and other cognitive functions suffer. You are less productive. You may be in a bad mood and less prepared to interact with others, as sleep deprivation can make you grumpy.

A lack of sleep can exacerbate stress, and vice versa. About 85 percent of U.S. employees report losing sleep due to work-related stress. But when you’re sleepy and finding it difficult to function, you are less able to manage stress from work and other sources.

Insufficient sleep can undermine your health as well. Not sleeping enough is associated with a higher risk of mental disorders including depression and anxiety. The risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, stroke, and other diseases increases as well.

How Sleep Supports Happiness at Work

Getting enough sleep means you’re helping your brain perform optimally, supporting cognitive function so that you can learn, remember information, and be more creative.

When you sleep, your brain consolidates memories, transferring memories from short-term to long-term storage. Factual knowledge as well as physical skills are learned with sleep. To really learn something, you need a good night’s sleep.

A more well-rested brain is better able to think harder and more clearly than one that is sleep deprived. With rest, you’re able to fully unleash your creativity. Your brain is more well prepared to come up with ideas and creative solutions to problems.

How Meditation Supports Happiness at Work

Meditation can improve sleep by helping you relax, calming your mind so that you can drift off to sleep. Using mindfulness meditation, you can fight insomnia and improve the quality of your sleep.

When you’re sleep deprived, meditation can help you focus on the present moment and push through at work. You can lessen the effects of fatigue and anxiety as you meditate.

How to Use Sleep and Meditation for Happiness at Work

  • Get an adequate night’s rest. Six to nine hours of sleep each night is adequate for most adults. Typically, the ideal sleep length is seven to seven and a half hours of actual sleep, not including the time you spend falling asleep or getting out of bed. However, the amount of sleep you need can vary depending on your age, health, and physical and mental activity.
  • Give yourself good quality sleep. Hours matter, but quality is important, too. Wakeful sleep can sabotage what would have been a restful night and leave you feeling fatigued and unprepared the next day. Create a reliable bedtime routine, going to bed at the same time each night, and create a restful sleep environment that is cool, calm, dark, and comfortable to give yourself the best shot at a good night’s sleep every night.
  • Use the relaxation response to sleep. With mindfulness meditation, you can relax and relieve stress to get a better night’s sleep. Choose a calming focus, such as your breath or a positive word, let go, and relax.
  • Use meditation to focus and relieve stress. You can relieve stress at work and lessen the effects of sleep deprivation using meditation. When you use the relaxation response to choose a calming focus and let go at work, be sure to sit up straight or stand to avoid nodding off.

Do you use meditation and sleep to feel happier at work? Tell us about your experience below!

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