Over the past decade, Fast Company has posted thousands of articles on every topic about productivity. The one issue that comes up more than any other is lack of sleep. In fact, it lies at the heart of many other productivity issues including decision-making, focus, creativity, time management, and more. Nobody feels like they’re getting enough, and all of us seem to be looking for tricks to improve our sleep habits.
Sleep directly impacts every aspect of our work life—not to mention our personal lives, health, and relationships. Sleep deprivation can impair your focus and concentration. And as the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard points out, if we get a poor night’s sleep, we set ourselves up to pay for it with compromised judgment, impaired mood, and an inability to learn and retain information at optimal levels. We also put ourselves at higher risk of physical injury and serious accidents.
A good place to start may be Fast Company‘s new podcast, “Secrets of the Most Productive People,” which seeks to get at the root of the problem instead of slapping band-aids on the issue. In their pilot episode, the host interviews sleep expert Anisa Purbasari Horton about what’s ruining the sleep of American workers. For Anisa, it’s stress and an overactive mind (chronic stress—even at a low grade level—is the number one reason that so many Americans have sleep disorders, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention). Meanwhile, the host explains that he’s experiencing a lack of sleep because his toddler wakes up in the middle of the night, every night, no matter what. (Surveys found that 71% of people say their partner keeps them up, and 35% say their young kids do.)