Sleep Better – Work Smarter

by Ruth Lincoln, Head Editor, INALJ DC

Sleep Better – Work Smarter

ruth.lincolnDoes it ever feel your to-do list grows exponentially? Between work, school, volunteering, job hunting, professional development, families, and maybe a personal life, I know we all wish there were more hours in a day.

BuzzFeed explains it well as the #1 “Shocking and Unexpected Fact” you learn in your twenties:

Sleep seems like a luxury, just another box to check. But if research tells us anything, sleep should really be a priority.

During the past few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to sleep more during the workweek. At first this meant my evenings seemed “less productive”. But it was really a blessing in disguise. I’ve found that when I sleep more, I work smarter the next day. I’m more focused, patient, and I actually get MORE accomplished.

It’s not easy, and some nights get away from me. But know that every day helps. Here are a couple tips to get you started.

Use Your Smartphone (Yes, Really)

We all know smartphones, tablets, and laptops can keep us up way too late. But this app is an exception.

Sleep Cycle (Apple/iOS) or SleepBot (Android) lays under your pillow and tracks your sleep and analyzes your sleep patterns. Its built-in alarm wakes you up gently and softly (i.e. no more blaring fog horn). The app calibrates to your movements and produces a graph each morning displaying your sleep cycle. There are some nifty built-in statistical features that track your sleep time/quality on a given day of the week (I sleep the worst on Tuesdays for some reason). You can also capture notes if you drank coffee/tea or exercised that day.

The trick, however, is to set the alarm at bedtime and ignore your phone’s other features.


Go Analog/Limit Screen Time after work

If I had to guess, you’re reading this article on a screen and it’s not the first (or last) screen you’ll examine today. Many of our jobs as information professionals and job hunting itself requires ample screen time. While we can’t escape the requirements our positions dictate, we can control our screen time after work.

Recently, I’ve tried instituting a “no screen after dinner” rule. Instead of watching TV, working on my laptop, and/or fiddling on my phone, I reserve the 1-3 hours before bed for reading print, cleaning, or other technology-free chores. You know what? I sleep longer and more soundly that night.

I’m not perfect. Many days this doesn’t happen. But I know if I put in effort, I’ll work better and exhibit more patience and compassion.




Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


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