It’s generally recommended that people sleep seven to nine hours a day. Some people might need even less or more than that. However, it’s very common to find translators working late at night or even around the clock, therefore, not getting any sleep at all. Well, been there, done that, and I can say it’s definitely not good for our health. Nowadays, I need eight to nine hours of sleep every night to work properly the next day. But I know I’m an exception. So that’s why I decided to talk about such a common topic among translators: sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep.
Bloodshot eyes are only one of the consequences you can get when you don’t sleep enough. And they can get serious enough to even change your genes! Sleep deprivation can increase…
- stroke risk
- obesity risk
- diabetes risk
- risk of some cancers
- heart disease risk
- death risk
- risks of having an accident
- probability of catching a cold
- levels of anxiety
- levels of depression
- risk of hypertension
It can also:
- fuel memory loss
- damage bones
- decrease sperm count
- hurt your heart
- impair recognition
- shorten your life expectancy
One night without sleep will make you feel tired and irritable, but not directly impact your health. Several sleepless nights, however, can affect your overall health, and the mental effects become more serious.
A good night’s sleep, on the other hand:
- boosts immunity
- helps you lose weight
- boosts your mental wellbeing
- prevents diabetes
People usually say you can’t catch up on lost sleep, but you can recover from sleepless nights and, after that, build a healthy sleeping routine that works for you. In order to recover from a period of sleep deprivation, add an extra hour or two of sleep at night. Go to bed when you feel tired and only wake up when your body tells you it’s time to. If it ends up being 10 hours of sleep a night, don’t worry. With time, you’ll learn the exact amount of time you need every night.
You might also need more sleep than usual if you are pregnant, have a chronic disease, are recovering from an illness or have been through an extreme physical exertion.
Keeping regular sleeping hours teaches the brain to get used to the routine. This is much easier if you are a freelancer, like me. Organize your schedule to meet your needs. If your deadlines make you work late one night, make up for it on the next morning or night, or even reward yourself with a day off as soon as possible. Don’t forget that one of the advantages of being a freelancer is organizing your own working hours – not only to work more but also to work less, when necessary.
Besides having a good night’s sleep, winding down is also extremely important. I, for example, can’t go to bed right after shutting down my computer. I need to relax and prepare myself for bed first. If you’re like me, you can:
- take a warm bath
- practice some relaxation exercises
- listen to some light or relaxing music
- read a book
What works for me is lying down on the couch and watching TV. Watching TV helps me think of absolutely nothing, so it empties my head and helps me disconnect from work. You need to find whatever works for you.
One last tip: don’t work in your bedroom. If you don’t have a room you can call your office at home, work in the living room or in any other room where you can fit your desk.
Do you have any other tips you can share with us? You can also share your sleep deprivation stories, if you have any.