Is Sleep Deprivation Holding You Back?

When you don’t have a steady job, it can be easy to fall into some bizarre sleep routines.  You might stay up until 3am and then nap for three hours in the afternoon.  It’s one of the benefits of being unemployed, right?!  The truth is that a failure to get proper sleep can cause you a lot of problems and make it difficult for you to find a job. Here are three ways that being tired is hindering your job search:
You can’t effectively look for a job.  Being tired inhibits your ability to look for a job in a variety of ways.  When you haven’t had enough sleep, you become stressed easily, you find it more difficult to solve problems, your memory is compromised, your creativity is limited, you make errors, and you are more likely to take short cuts.  Basically, when you are tired it is a lot more difficult to find a job.  It may take you longer to get a job offer and there is a good chance that you won’t be able to get as good a position as you would have if you were well rested.
You don’t make a good impression.  When you are exhausted, that is precisely the impression that you make on employers.  Without proper sleep, it is almost impossible to convey your passion and enthusiasm for the company.  The sad part is that the employer doesn’t get a true picture of what you have to offer.
It’s bad for your health.  If nothing else can persuade you, then consider getting more sleep for the good of your health.  Lack of sleep increases your stress level and is linked to a variety of serious conditions including heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes.  Getting enough sleep doesn’t just make you feel better, it is essential to maintaining a healthy body and mind.Here are some things that you can do every day to improve your sleep hygiene in order to get more and a better quality of sleep:

Reduce your caffeine intake.  That little kick that opens your eyes in the morning also makes you toss and turn at night.  At the very least, limit your caffeine intake to before lunchtime.

Develop a consistent routine.  When you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, your body receives the cue and begins to crave sleep at that time.  Work with your body’s natural rhythms instead of against them.      

Put your computer down.  When the sun sets and the rest of the world starts to wind down, you should also let yourself relax.  Working or job searching late at night keeps your mind active when it should be getting ready to rest.  If it’s night time and you’re still tapping away at your computer, keep in mind that you probably won’t actually get to sleep for an hour or two after you stop working.

Meditate.  Mindful meditation can help you quiet your mind and relax.  People who practice it report lower levels of stress and are able to get to sleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

When you’re not working and don’t necessarily need to get up in the morning, there can be a temptation to stay up late and sleep during the day.  However, if you are serious about your job search, you need to kick that habit.  It is important that you are well rested, and that you are up and active during normal business hours.  Looking for a job is difficult enough; you have to give yourself every advantage that you can get.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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