Your #1 Priority if You Want to Change Your Career

Guest Blog by Emily Perron, Career Development Strategist

A career mentor once told me that sleep is like a dishwasher for our brains. Sleep is when our brains work through all of the muck from the day and clean it up.

I’d never pictured it that way before, but I have to say, it makes sense.

Lately, I’ve been taking a closer look at how I spend my time. Previously, I wrote about how I’ve reevaluated my relationship with my phone. I’ve also been taking a closer look at my sleep habits.

But what does sleep have to do with a career change?

Research shows that a lack of sleep can affect literally every aspect of our lives. Not only are we more sluggish and less able to concentrate, but we become more emotional and more prone to overreact to every little thing.

Lack of sleep disrupts our constructive thought patterns and negatively affects our emotional intelligence. Newer research also suggests that a lack of sleep can increase one’s chance of developing certain mental health issues.

Think about it. How often do you fall asleep at night staring at one type of screen or another? How often do you fall asleep with your phone on your nightstand or stashed under your pillow?

Those screens emit blue light, which work against the brain’s ability to turn off and allow us to fall asleep. The constant buzzing and beeping of alerts and notifications, even if we don’t wake up all the way, keeps our brains active in a way they shouldn’t be while we’re sleeping.

And what’s the first thing we usually do in the morning, even before we’re all the way awake?

We grab our phones, check our email, read the news, and play a round of Candy Crush.

It might seem harmless, but as I pointed out in my previous post, these kind of “harmless” habits can make it harder for your brain to focus, generate creative ideas, and come up with strategic plans.

Navigating major life transitions requires being able to think clearly, generate ideas, and plan strategic next steps. You can’t do that if your brain is stressed, overworked, and under-rested.

In my last post, I challenged you to download Moment to see how much time you’re spending on your phone.

This week, I challenge you to make one small improvement to your sleep routine, such as:

  1. Engaging in a relaxing activity that doesn’t involve a phone, tablet or computer. My favorite: Experience Life magazine.

  2. Turning on some calm music. I recommend Your Favorite Coffeehouse playlist on Spotify.

  3. Journaling about the things that are bothering you or you don’t want to forget to do the next day. Marami has the best. journals. ever.

Try one of these or come up with your own and let us know what you found in the comments.

Note: I am not affiliated with any of the resources mentioned in this post. They are merely suggestions. 

About Emily:

Emily Perron is a Career Development Strategist with a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and English. She has experience in all aspects of the hiring process: as a manager at a Fortune 500 company, as a consultant on high-profile hires, and as an applicant. Which means, she gets what employers are looking for when selecting people to interview. And it means that she knows exactly how to help you land an interview for the job you’ve been dreaming of. Check out this quiz if you want to discover the Career Path to Meaningful Work that’s right for you.