by Naomi Rodgers
(New York, USA)
Whether you work on a farm or in a fire-hall, bag groceries or sell mortgages you know how important it is to concentrate at work. In fact, in some jobs the ability to remain alert is a matter of life and death.
If you struggle with lethargy, sleepiness, forgetfulness, or distractibility during your workday, know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider making some of these lifestyle adjustments to improve on-the-job energy, performance, memory, and concentration.
1. Get enough sleep
Despite amazing discoveries about the human body, scientists have still not figured out how to short-circuit our body’s need for sleep. The time at which you fall asleep and the amount of sleep you need are governed by arcadian rhythms These are 24-hour cycles of adjustments your body makes to blood pressure, hormone release, and body temperature. They are what cause you to fall asleep about the same time every night and wake at the same time each morning. When you don’t get enough sleep, you simply cannot function well.
When your body is sleep deprived (adults need six to eight hours of sleep a day), it wracks up a sleep debt. A day or two of not enough sleep is no big deal. But if you continuously try to function on too little sleep, your alertness decreases, you’ll fight drowsiness, and exhibit a noticeably decreased ability to concentrate.
When you’re short of sleep, naps can help. Short periods of sleep from 30 to 60 minutes, especially in the early afternoon when daytime energy is often at its low point, can give you a boost that will last through the rest of the day. Eventually, though, you will need a long sleep to catch upon the sleep you’ve missed. Some things you can do to get the sleep you need:
– Establish a sleep routine where you goto bed and get up about the same time each day.
-Avoid exercising immediately before bedtime. This tends to wake up your body.
– Don’t drink beverages, especially diuretics like coffee, before bed so that your sleep won’t be disturbed by trips to the bathroom.
– If your sleeping area is noisy, use earplugs to block out the sounds.
– If you’re a shift worker and need to sleep during the day, make an extra effort to darken the room.
2. Get regular exercise
Regular and vigorous exercise — which can be as non-stressful as walking or gardening—yields benefits of alertness and energy. Regular exercise improves lung capacity, and healthy lungs move a higher level of oxygen to your brain. In addition, exercise helps reduce your risk of getting diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stroke. Exercise leads to increased connections between brain cells, enhances the function of neurotransmitters, and increases the level of neurotrophics- substances that nourish brain cells. Fit exercise into your routine.