Updated February 3, 2021Time and again, people sacrifice sleep to accomplish other tasks that may include studying for a test or completing a project for work. While cutting back on sleep may help you achieve these goals, those lost hours build up and can affect your overall productivity. Less sleep results in a lack of focus and makes it harder to function during the day. By better managing your time, you also may be able to improve your sleep.Effects of StressSleep deprivation affects over 70 million Americans, with no one cause. People may struggle with sleep because of poor sleep habits or as a side effect of medication. Stress has a significant influence on sleep.According to the American Psychological Association, adults with high-stress levels report struggling with sleep—they get less than seven hours of sleep and frequently wake during the night. That’s because when you feel stressed before bed, it’s harder for the body to wind down for sleep.When we experience negative emotions, our body produces more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, responsible for the fight or flight response. In response to what the body perceives as a threat, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and specific muscles become tense.We may not experience this sensation every time we feel stressed, but we still feel tense, and it may take a while for us to calm down. As a result, it takes longer to fall asleep, especially when our mind is focused on what needs to be done.Sleep and TimeOften when we don’t manage our time, sleep is sacrificed to complete last-minute projects. As a result, we struggle to fall asleep because our bodies experience higher cortisol levels and less melatonin.Melatonin is a hormone that maintains the circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production is highest at night and lowest during the day. Melatonin slows our bodies down and prepares it for sleep, but if cortisol levels are high, melatonin struggles to help us sleep.Also, we’re more prone to stress without enough sleep. This is why it’s so important to get enough sleep—to reduce stress levels and improve our focus. Instead of sacrificing sleep, rest is key to better productivity.Managing Your TimeCutting back on sleep may help us complete more tasks, but less sleep decreases our overall performance the following day. Instead of sacrificing more sleep, we should try to manage our time better. Managing our time leads to a healthy balance between family, friends, work, and sleep. Getting enough sleep gives you more energy to make the most of your day.Studies have shown that sleep is a necessary part of learning, a critical factor in the ability to complete tasks and goals. Sleep allows the brain to store new information as memory from the previous day, and also make room for more information. Without enough sleep, we may forget details or struggle to be efficient.To manage your time, create a daily plan and stick to it. Prioritizing what needs to be done first can enable you to function at your best. You may also be able to achieve more.Try not to sacrifice your sleep. Following these simple steps can help you get the rest you need to be at your best.Find out how much sleep you needOur sleep calculator can calculate how much sleep you need based on your age. It also shows you the earliest and latest time you should get to bed based on your wake time.Keep a sleep scheduleA regular sleep and wake time establishes a natural rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. Keep to this sleep schedule on the weekends. It may seem tempting to sleep in a few extra hours, but sleeping in may have a negative effect.Avoid certain foodsFoods high in sugar, fat, and spice may be harder to digest if consumed right before bedtime. When you climb into bed, your body may be more focused on digestion instead of preparing for sleep.FAQsHow does lifestyle affect sleep?There are many ways lifestyle can affect sleep. One is if you’re a shift worker. Shift workers may not be able to sleep at night, and instead, sleep during the day because they don’t have a regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. Shift workers may not have control over their work schedules, but they can control their sleep environment.To achieve 7 to 9 hours of sleep, shift workers can still follow the same sleep habits:Avoid electronic devices an hour before bedKeep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet (blackout curtains, eye masks, and earplugs may help)Set a sleep and wake time to establish a rhythmRestrict activities to sleep only in the bedroomHow can I balance my sleep and study?For students, finding a balance between sleep and studying can be tricky. Assignments, projects, and studying for tests can seem impossible to complete each day without having to stay up late.These tips may help you better manage your time:Schedule sleepSet a bedtime routine and stick with it, so you get the rest you need to be more productive.Avoid distractionsStay away from social media to keep you focused on the task at hand.Don’t procrastinateInstead of trying to do a big project the day before it’s due, gradually work on it in sections the day it’s assigned.Bribe yourselfWhen faced with a daunting assignment, give yourself something to look forward to as a reward, like a walk or a treat.What is the best time to sleep?There is no perfect time to fall asleep, but to perform at your best, we recommend getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Going to bed early and waking up early in the morning keeps your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, consistent. Establishing a consistent sleep-wake time, even on weekends, creates a rhythm for your body to get used to. You may find it easier to fall asleep and feel more alert when you wake up in the morning by following a sleep schedule.What things can affect your sleep?Both internal and external factors can affect your sleep. External aspects include sleep habits, diet, and lifestyle. Internal elements include stress, depression, and other medical conditions.These things may cause you to frequently wake at night or make it harder to fall asleep. You may consider other methods to improve your sleep, but this solution is only temporary. The best way to achieve better sleep is to establish healthy sleep habits. These habits include:Set up a bedtime routineEstablish a sleep/wake time (including weekends)Take a warm bath or shower before bedAvoid heavy meals, or fatty, spicy, or sugary foods right before bedAvoid electronic devices an hour before bedKeep the bedroom dark and coolHow many hours of sleep do we need?A person needs between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, the average adult sleeps less than 7 hours. When we don’t get enough sleep, our minds and bodies can’t function at their best because our bodies weren’t given enough time to recover from the previous day’s activities. It’s harder to concentrate, and our movements are less coordinated. As time goes by, the effects of sleep deprivation accumulate, leading to more severe problems, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.ConclusionInstead of cutting out sleep to complete your goals and projects, make time for rest. Getting a few hours of sleep a night might seem like a good idea when trying to complete other tasks, but sleep deprivation hurts your overall abilities. You may struggle to concentrate and keep on the job at hand the following day.Instead, make sure you get the sleep you need and manage your time accordingly. You’ll be able to cut back on stress and perform at your best.About the author Malik Karman“Professional sleeper” Malik Karman is a freelance writer for the eachnight blog. Over the years, Malik has read countless medical studies and explored hundreds of different bedding products in an effort to better understand what goes into a restorative night’s rest. Malik curates many of our “best mattress” guides to assist readers in the mattress buying process. Find more articles by Malik Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.