Looking for ways to be more productive, more creative, and more energetic in your professional life? Why don’t you try sleeping on it?

No, really: We mean it literally. One of the biggest mistakes made by busy professionals is thinking you can make do on precious little sleep—perhaps even just a couple of hours each night.

Why Sleep Matters

Whether you realize it or not, though, sleep is necessary for recharging your batteries—and if you’re not getting eight hours each night, you’re simply not functioning at your best.

Consider some of the ramifications of sleeplessness: Impaired judgment and decision-making; decreased energy levels; less optimism and resilience in the face of problems; diminished creativity; lessened productivity; and more.

So if you’re busy in your work life, sleeping more is hardly wasted time; actually, it’s an investment in using your time more effectively.

Tips for Sleeping Better at Night

But what can you do to sleep better, more restfully and fully each night? Consider adding some of these tips to your bedtime routine.

  • Turn off your screens half an hour before bedtime; the blue glow can actually stir your brain and cause agitation. Spend a few minutes relaxing with a good book, a hot bath, or a cup of decaf tea, instead.
  • Make sure you have a routine. Try to be consistent when you go to bed each night and when you wake up in the morning. Put your body into sync.
  • Keep your bedroom nice and cool; turn down the thermostat.
  • Try to use the bedroom only for sleeping; do your TV watching and other entertainment elsewhere, and don’t ever bring work into the bedroom.
  • Before you sign out of the office, write a to-do list for the next day—allowing your mind to check out a bit more in the evening.
  • If there’s a problem keeping you awake and alert, try writing it down in a diary—a great way to get it off your brain at least long enough to sleep.
  • Invest in a white noise machine and see if you find it to be relaxing.

Reserve caffeine for the mornings; try to avoid consumption of stimulants after noon or so.

Invest in getting a good night’s sleep—and remember: It’s not a waste of your time. It’s a way to use your waking hours much more productively.