Sleep and productivity go hand in hand

sleep and productivityIt is a well-known fact that sleep and productivity go hand in hand. Sleep is also very important when it comes to our well-being. However, things change radically when you have a baby in your home.

Your nightly sleeping rhythm is in most cases dictated by how your baby is sleeping. Rest assured, if you normally sleep tight, you will most probably wake up when your baby starts crying.

Even if you are now more tired than before (your baby was born), there are still ways to overcome the sleep debt issue.

Why do you need enough sleep?

Sleep is fundamental part of any human being’s well-being. Lack of sleep affects negatively to your memory, focus and overall productivity. Also, solving complex issues comes harder if you haven’t rested enough (and that’s because you are not able to focus enough).

It goes without saying that getting enough sleep is mandatory for your well-being. It enables you to do your important things, like working or spending time with your family. Of course, you can do those things when you are tired, but you enjoy much less of those when being tired.

Babies and regular sleeping times – impossible combination?

Let’s acknowledge couple of things.

First, when you have a newborn baby in the house, your sleeping pattern will most likely make a somersault.

I remember that after my son came home from the hospital, I was awake, sometimes even couple of times per night. To make things even challenging, when he wake up, he stayed awake for couple of hours in the middle of the night.

Second, this irregular sleeping phase is going to end at some point. When writing this, our son still wakes up couple of times per night (he just turned three months old). However, we have had very encouraging words of our acquaintances who have said, that this nightly rhythm is only temporary.

This helps us to be positive: When we know that this is just a temporary phase, we can manage the situation better.

Finally, nightly wake ups belong to your baby’s development. Sure, there are babies who sleep tight the whole night right from the beginning while others (like our son) wake up more frequently. Anyway, we didn’t expect that our sleeping habits would stay the same after having a baby, so wake up every now and then are part of the game.

How to get a better sleep?

These are some common solutions to make sure you get a better sleep or feel better rested. This list is not complete and I encourage you to list your own tips on the comments section.how to powernap

This helps us all who are trying to tackle the sleep debt.

a) Sleep in a different room

This is what I have been doing. Since I have a day job, I need to get some sleep before waking up early in the morning.

My wife feeds our son at least two times per night (with the lights on in the bedroom), so I know that it is impossible for me to get any sleep then. That’s why we decided to do this temporary solution where I sleep on our workroom’s floor.

b) Take the vacation offered by the government

This applies to fathers, who have a day job and live in a country which offers this possibility.

I live in Finland and here the government offers paternity leave for fathers. That is 3 weeks and you can decide how to keep those three weeks (there is also a father month which is 30 days long). Personally, I took two weeks off when my son came to home from hospital and then one week after the Christmas.

You may now ask: “How does this help you to sleep better?” Well, the vacation itself doesn’t. But knowing that you can take naps during the afternoon (or other times) helps you to cope with the situation better.

c) Decide who has the night shift

Personally we haven’t done this, but one option is to give your partner a chance to get at least one night of distraction-free sleep.

Basically, you can decide that your spouse can spend a night somewhere else (his/her parents, at friends place) while you wake up with the baby and take care of him/her.

Later, you spouse can do the same favor for you and you can have your distraction-free night, when you can rest and reload your batteries.

It’s all about equalizing the amount of staying up between the parents.

d) Get a sleeping mask and earplugs

To help me to sleep better, I invested to a sleeping mask (Jasmine Silk Sleeping Mask) and some earplugs (Howard Leight Laser Lite).

Even though I sleep in a separate room, these help me to filter out all the extra noise and light while I sleep. Of course, they don’t block 100% of the noise or light, but still help you improve the quality of your sleep.

If you don’t have a possibility to sleep in a separate room than the rest of the family, this equipment is good to be available.

e) Take naps

If you haven’t got used to taking naps, now is the time to learn that now.

Even with 20 minutes of sleep (aka power napping) you can wake up fully refreshed and full of energy.

You don’t have to worry about losing your night sleep because of napping – especially if you take naps before 5 PM the latest.

Try power napping, it is a great way to improve your productivity.

f) Adjust your rhythm to baby’s sleeping schedule

After a beginning, your baby is eventually going to have a sleeping schedule. Still, it is going to be different one than what you might have.

The important thing is to adjust to that situation. If he/she goes to sleep at 9 PM, you may need to adjust your own sleeping times accordingly. That way you can have at least some amount of sleep before the first wake up.

g) Take a hotel room

good sleeping habitsThis is a bit radical thing to do, but I have heard this happening. What you do is that you book a room and get the sleep debt cleared out by sleeping in a hotel.

Even this option costs some money you may want to consider this option if things get too challenging and sleep debt grows too big.

h) Talk to your local social workers

Lastly, you may want to talk to your local social workers, if they have any advice or help that they could provide.

Fortunately, these days authorities are beginning to be interested how dads are doing too (and not just moms or children), so it is possible that a solution can be found that way too.

Conclusion

Sleep is a very important part of our well-being. However, once there is a new family member in your home, your regular sleeping patterns will turn upside down.

Keep in mind that this phase is just temporary. Hopefully the tips mentioned on this points give you some advice what to do if getting proper sleep gets challenging.

Your next tasks:

1. Put this blog post into action!

  • Find the tip that you like the most and take action on it. Make necessary arrangements for better sleeping conditions.
  • If things get too challenging, don’t hesitate to ask for help (friends, your own parents, other  parents, social workers …)

2. Share your experiences and tips on the comment area:

  • Give your tips for getting a proper sleep when you have small children in the house
  • Tips on how to get baby to fall asleep (something that you have successfully used yourself)

3. Spread the word:

  • I would appreciate it if you share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn or on BizSugar (click the vertical share bar on the left).
About Timo Kiander

My name is Timo Kiander aka Productive Superdad.

I want to show you how to improve your productivity when working at home and find time for the fun stuff in your life!

Comments

  1. The best advice that I ever heard was to sleep when your baby sleeps. Humans need to get good sleep and to feel rested. If not mental then later emotional problems will occur.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Justin,

      So true! Sleep is very important and our baby’s sleeping habits have definitely changed our sleeping patterns too!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  2. Hi Timo!

    It’s been a while since I had to deal with sleeplessness due to young children, but sleep has been on my mind a lot lately. I seem to be always torn between getting more sleep and getting more done in my business.

    Like many, I work a busy day job and only have a few hours each night to devote to my business. It often happens when I look up at the clock at its midnight, and the alarm clock set to 5am comes WAY too soon.

    I am working on getting more sleep because, as you say it is linked to productivity. I find that I need to shut off the computer about 30 minutes before going to bed; otherwise, my brain continues to race and I find sleep difficult to come by.

    Also, I am a huge believer in Power Naps!

    Thanks for reminding me how important sleep is in our productivity… and our health!

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Bob,

      So true. Especially when you are working part-time on your business, you have to take the time somewhere.

      Turning my computer off well before going to sleep is something I have to learn to do. I also have noticed, that my brain is on overdrive when I work on my computer just before going to bed (thus it affect negatively to the quality of my sleep).

      Cheers,
      Timo

  3. This is very true that having a baby and enjoying proper sleep don’t go together.

    Thank you Timo for sharing the great list options available to catch up sleep, will be really helpful.

  4. Hey Timo…

    Thanks for the tips. Definitely agree on the sleep thing, regardless of having a newborn around or not.

    My favorite piece? Taking naps!

    Hey, my kids are 15, 13 and 11, and you know what? I still find time to take naps in the late morning or early afternoon if I need them. It helps a ton with getting and staying focused.

    Thanks Timo… :-)

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Eric,

      Yeah … Napping is the “secret” trick of keeping you sane :)

      Just yesterday it took me like couple of minutes to fall asleep and I woke-up 15 minutes later… and I felt so different (my tiredness was gone!)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  5. Hi Timo, Sleeping in shifts worked well for us. I would get up until 5am and any time the little one cried after 5am hubby would get up. He got to spend great quality time with the babies and I got to sleep from 5am to 10am. Those 5 hours of unbroken sleep where the most precious gift he has ever given me :)

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Sarah,

      That’s a good tip!

      In fact, now that I think of it … we have already had sleeping shifts couple of times.

      Our son was awake but my wife wanted to get some sleep.

      I took care of our son and quite soon after feeding him and playing with him a bit, he fell asleep again :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  6. Timo! Dude! You know I love ya, and I agree that sleep is an important part of life.

    And I may rock the boat a bit, but I have a different view if that’s cool :D I’d love to express it and have you guys feelin’ it :)

    “It is a well-known fact that sleep and productivity go hand in hand. ”

    I personally don’t connect productivity and sleep, at least in my own personal experience.

    -I’ve written a novella-sized book in 2 weeks, sleeping 0-3 hours a night.
    -I rebooted my company and my brand from scratch, all social media accounts, materials, articles and more in a month averaging 4 hours sleep a night.
    -I often have ‘all-nighters’ where I don’t sleep until night-time the following day, and turn out some of my best work and best ideas during that time.

    My health + productivity have been greater than ever. In the last 2 months I’ve had 10 guest posts, 16 RyzeOnline.com posts, averaging ~1000 words each. On top of that I created 11 polished videos, art, began co-authoring a book, and much more.

    -Jay-z performed 7 concerts in 7 cities in 24 hours.
    -50 cent worked on a movie and a soundtrack at the same time, reportedly skipping much sleep..

    I would say these are extremely productive things, and to me they come from passion, and when you’re doing what you love sleep becomes not low priority, but also unnecessary.

    • Jason, do you have kids?

      • We-ell, I’m not sure how that’s relevant to any examples I’ve cited. Jay-Z + Angelina Jolie have kids, but I recommend looking into how much they sleep. :)

        Anyway, to answer your question: Nope, but I have people around me who’ve used their kids as an excuse for many things.

        I have kids so… “I cant follow my dreams (right now).”
        I have kids so… “I cant set my own schedule.”
        I have kids so… “I cant have high energy.”
        I have kids so… “I cant be healthy.”
        I have kids so… “I cant quit smoking.”

        etc.

        Does that count? ;)

        • Jason,
          I was just wondering. :)

          I thought it was relevant because this post is about babies and how they effect sleep.

          I know what you mean about the excuses and have certainly seen that before.

          Also I was wondering because I don’t have babies/kids yet and it’s hard for me to say how it would effect my schedule/sleep/productivity…but I can only imagine that it would probably be pretty difficult (especially at first), when we’re used to having all of our time to ourselves….suddenly your time isn’t yours anymore!!!

          :)

        • Your sleep needs for doing “regular” productive things may not be the same as your sleep needs for dealing with children.
          I was never very good at going to sleep early. But I find that if I try to put in hours like I did in high school now (as mother and primary caretaker of 7 children under the age of 11), I may run short on patience with the kids the next day. Dealing with kids is very different than working on your own or dealing with adults. It’s a whole different ball game.
          I still run late hours sometimes, but I try to compensate with a nap when I can.

          And having kids may not mean that you can’t (fill in the blank), but sometimes you need to be a lot more creative and patient to make it happen., assuming that being there for those kids is a high priority.

          • Timo Kiander says:

            I agree.

            It’s a different thing living without children and being productive and living with children and being productive.

            Your productivity patterns should adjust to the current situation. Even when you have a kids, you can achieve different productivity levels depending how old he/she is.

            Anyway, flexibility is the key and you need to adjust to the current situation.

            Cheers,
            Timo

        • Actually,
          I have kids . . . So I choose to make them a priority
          I have kids . . . So I choose to spend time with them
          I have kids . . . So I choose to take the time and effort to raise them to be good people
          I have kids . . . So I choose to shower them with love

          And yes, I also choose to do things for myself sometimes.
          But you cannot really understand what it is to have kids until you have them!
          (it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever encounter, but also a challenge, and yes, it limits your freedom and independence!)

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Jason,

      Different views are always welcome!

      I agree that passion is a great motivator and you just want to keep on going, thus going to bed seems to be the last option :)

      But also, I believe that the amount of sleep is pretty much a personal thing. Some people cope with less sleep while others need it more.

      I belong to somewhere between these two camps.

      Anyway, thank you for your views :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

      • Ahhhh, thank you so much Timo!

        I know my views are not “The Most Common”, but I share them with love, and with the aim of helping people realize their dreams and release limitations.

        It feels wonderful to be able to express them honestly, and have them welcome’d.

        Ryan Handley labelled me an MVC (most valuable commenter”), and I love it when peeps are open to the value.

        Thanks man.

        And yes, it is most definitely a personal thing, and I’d never try to change that. I only share my experiences, it’s all I have ;)

    • I’ve pulled many all-nighters and can be quite productive once in a while on little sleep, the phrase being “once in a while”. I do see that my writing and creativity suffers from lack of sleep.

      And while I can get a lot of stuff done with little sleep, all that goes out the door when there are kids around. That’s because I need concentration. I can’t even write with the TV on or music in the background. But that’s just me.

      • Timo Kiander says:

        Jeanne,

        I need total concentration too.

        That’s why I like to work whenever others are sleeping.

        Cheers,
        Timo

  7. I remember those days of little sleep. I thought they would never end and it did take some time before our family could really recover normal sleeping habits. I set a goal for 2012 to get more sleep and so far I have been doing better. I went on a caffeine holiday and then stopped drinking it after lunch time. So I am pretty tired at night now and can sleep much better…. Good luck in getting more sleep!

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Kristen,

      I want to pay closer attention to the caffeine too.

      Although I fall sleep pretty much right after going to bed, I would like to pay attention to the caffeine part.

      I used to drink 7 cups per day and now the average is approximately 3-4.

      Not drinking coffee after lunch time … that’s a good advice!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  8. I usually get moody when I lack sleep. I have prepared myself for the discomfort and waking up for the baby is difficult at first. You are right about reminding ourselves that it is only temporary. It helps calm my mind knowing I can’t make up for the lack of rest in the future. Thank you for the tips.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Linda,

      Great to hear that you liked these tips!

      When I’m tired, I get annoyed more easily. However, having just a quick nap can change all that all of a sudden I’m like a new person :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  9. Good post, have you ever found that the ear plugs give you something similar to “swimmers ear?” I’m a bit sceptical about trying something like that (keeping your ears blocked for extended amounts of time)

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Peter,

      No I haven’t, although I have been pondering this too: Does the continuous use of earplugs do something to my ears.

      Anyway, this is just an temporary phase, so hopefully things settle down soon :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  10. Timo,

    I don’t have any kids yet and this post didn’t make me want to rush out and get that done.

    I do love power naps though!

    Thanks.

    Ryan H.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Ryan,

      Sure, there is the sleep debt, but I wouldn’t change any of this what I have experienced :)

      But yes, I’m about to take a power nap soon, I love them too!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  11. This brings back memories Timo. Our kids are older now and we are passed the sleep deprived days. You provide some great tips to help battle the sleep debt. However, there were three things that really helped my during this time of my life:

    1. A supportive partner.
    2. Live in the moment and just be. Remember if you are having a rough day, this time shall pass, but in the end you should be grateful to have the opportunity to be with little people at this stage in their life. Don’t worry where you need to be next or you are not getting any sleep. Just be with them at that moment.
    3. Really learn what your baby wants when they are crying or upset. With our 2nd child we had this DVD http://www.dunstanbaby.com/ and it did wonders to help with our understanding of our new born’s cries.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Chris,

      Thank you for these insights!

      Living in a moment – that is very important.

      At times we may be tired but all those little things that our son does, make all the difference (and make us very happy) :)

      Thanks for the DVD info, I’ll check it out!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  12. This a real in-depth post, nicely done Timo.

    I’d like to add one myself: If you can’t manage to find the time to nap, I recommend meditating — sitting still, in a quiet room, and just breathing.

    It may not work for everyone, but if developed into a habit, I noticed it has cleared my mind tremendously, allowed me to feel much better, and instead of life feeling like it was on 3X, it helped me go back to normal speed.

    Rest is so important — our craft, work, and the people around us depend on it.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Paul,

      Thank you!

      That’s a great tip – thanks for mentioning it!

      In fact, I have some meditation CD’s on their way (I ordered them from Amazon) and I’m looking forward to learn this new skill.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  13. Sleep will replenish all the lost energy. Full tank cars always win races, and it is the same with out bodies. If our tanks are full of energy we will be able to be as productive as we can be because we have a lot of fuel to use to do many things. Sleep is also the best way that our body has to repair all the damaged parts that we have until everything will be good to use again.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      John,

      That’s well put.

      We need to have that energy to keep on going.

      If we are running our tanks empty, then we are forced to stop for a moment, fill in the tanks until we can continue.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  14. Above paragraph Give advantages of sleeping. In the present time people work hard in their office and come back home that is normal life stile . After few years feel stress about recurring same at the moment mentally unconscious and it may affect to sleep. Necessary tips to avoid from these situation to follow these guides.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Shane!

      I agree. Your productivity is dependent of how well you sleep and recover.

      One great way to get your day started again is to take a powernap. For instance this is what I did today and I felt great afterwards.

      Cheers,
      Timo

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