How’s your sleep been lately? We all know that sleep can have a major impact on your day and your life. Yet, many of us are working against ourselves and not getting the sleep we need. Today, we talk about how energy fluctuates throughout the day and how sleep quality can help!
Biology makes it hard to maintain energy
Recent research solidified what we collectively understand about maintaining our energy. As the work day progresses, our energy tends to decrease. However, this varies based on your chronotype – your biological circadian rhythm. Those that have more energy early in the day (early chronotype, a.k.a. early birds) see a sharper decrease of energy as the day goes on. Those of us that have more energy later in the day don’t see that same decline.
We’ve talked about this before but it’s important to re-iterate how important understanding your own chronotype can be. Culturally, we value early risers and our work schedules align well for the early chronotypes. However, if we want to see the most productivity and wellness in our employees, flexible schedules (where possible) will lead to better outcomes. And, in terms of how you can maintain energy, the more tuned into your own biological tendencies, the better you can adapt your schedule to your needs. Learn more about your type here.
The impact of sleep quality, workload, and autonomy
While our biology explains a lot of the energy puzzle, other factors come into play as well. First, we know sleep quality is crucial to being productive at work. If you feel like you had good sleep, you are more likely to be engaged at work the next day. But, sleep quality doesn’t matter if your workload is high. Even with good sleep quality, a high workload will lead to your energy dropping. We aren’t talking about just being busy. We mean a workload that is too high to reasonably get done. So, even if you are doing a good job getting the right sleep, having an unsustainable job will ruin it.
In addition, autonomy can help maintain energy. Basically, if you have a job where you can plan your own day or have some control over how you choose to work, you are less likely to see a big decline in energy throughout your day. We’ve talked about autonomy before and it has a huge impact on wellness. So, it’s not a big surprise that it would help with maintaining energy as well. If you are able to take some control in your work day, do it! It’ll help you keep your energy up and not ruin good sleep!
What can companies do?
As always, we will recommend organizations and leaders focus on providing flexibility to employees. If you can, give them some control over how their work is done and when. Don’t stick to unnecessary strict schedules but let people adapt their work to what will help them be the most productive and well. As much as we like to think productivity and performance can be managed and controlled, it’s actually much more likely to occur when employees have flexibility and effective balance. Help your business by helping employees find flexibility and wellness at work.