Is a Lack of Sleep Affecting Your Employment Chances?

By Guest Blogger Kelly N., from

I’m just too busy to get some shut-eye

When life gets busy, sleep is often the first thing we give up. All of our normal, but increasingly time-consuming realities tend to crowd out the time and peace of mind needed for healthy sleep. As sleep moves to the bottom of our list of priorities, we may even feel as if we are being more productive.

While sleep deprivation is an issue that is often overlooked, it can have more of an impact on our lives than we realize. Not only does a lack of sleep affect our mental and physical health, but it can also have an impact on your job search.

Check out the ways listed below that a lack of sleep can affect your employment chances:

It Impairs Your Ability To Focus During an Interview

Getting a good night’s sleep helps us to think clearly, remember information, and make decisions. When we don’t get the amount of sleep that our bodies need, it impairs what is known as “selective attention.” This is our ability to focus on specific information when other things are occurring at the same time. When our selective attention is impaired we are more prone to make careless mistakes. Do you find yourself re-reading the same sentences over and over again on a job application? Have you found yourself stuck during the middle of an interview? In order to be your most productive self, researchers state going to bed early and staying asleep throughout the night are a must.

You’re Less Creative

The more sleep that we get, the more creative that we are. Author, Stephen King, even claimed in his book, Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, that “a regular sleep pattern can encourage our wakeful minds to unlock the similarly creative imaginations we access in our sleep.” You may be thinking that creativity isn’t important during your job search, but it is essential in order to stand out from other candidates. A more visually appealing resume and well-written cover letter, along with your ability to effectively answer interview questions, can be the difference between getting the job or not. During the hiring process, you may even be asked to show how innovative you are as a candidate. These high-pressure situations can be nerve-wrecking, so getting a good night’s sleep can help ensure that your mind is refreshed and ready to answer any question that is thrown your way during the interview.

It Decreases Your Ability to Recall Information

Sleep deprivation has a major impact on learning and memory. A lack of sleep causes our focus, attention, and vigilance to drift, making it more difficult to receive information. We also lose our ability to access previously learned information as without adequate sleep and rest, overworked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can improve your recall. Declarative memory is our ability to store and recall facts. Research revealed that during deep sleep or slow wave sleep, declarative memory appears to be given a particular boost. Memories of recently learned facts are strengthened if sleep occurs between learning and testing/performing. When preparing for a job interview, be sure to set time aside to review your resume, the company that you are interviewing for, and the job description before bedtime. Pulling an all-nighter is probably not your best strategy.

Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep Patterns

  1. If you are overwhelmed with the amount of things that you need to get done and it’s keeping you up at night, try writing down a to-do list each night before bed. This will help you prioritize, stay on track, and hold yourself accountable.
  2. Do you toss at turn throughout the night or wake up feeling tired? Is your body sore and achy when you wake up? These are all signs that you are not sleeping on a good pillow. Sleeping on the right pillow can make the difference between an energized morning and a difficult start. Check out these cozy options here.
  3. Stick to a schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This will help regulate your body’s internal clock and can help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
  4. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. While power napping may help you get through the day, it can prevent you from falling asleep at bedtime. Eliminating naps, even short catnaps, can help.