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3 Popular Nighttime Calming Habits that Secretly Sabotage Productivity Your go-to sleep aid may be backfiring. Find out why, plus some good alternatives.

By Leah Borski

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Enes Evren | Getty Images

A topic that's been on-trend in the entrepreneurial space is how to relax and get enough rest to improve productivity and sustainability as leaders. This increased interest comes as no surprise: A 2019 Rand report citing the global economic effects of sleep deprivation found that the U.S. sustains by far the biggest economic losses (up to $411 billion a year).

Sleep deprivation is linked to lower productivity at work, which results in a significant loss of working days each year. In addition, research shows lost productivity due to "presenteeism" (people showing up for work but operating at subpar levels).

Insufficient sleep is also a top contributor to stress and anxiety symptoms such as exhaustion, brain fog, and moodiness. The resulting irritability causes friction in our relationships, both at work and at home, and it becomes a vicious cycle. As our stress elevates, so do our cortisol levels—which launches us into "fight or flight" mode—and as a result, we struggle to relax into restorative sleep at night. In our desperation to feel well-rested and avoid repeating the cycle again tomorrow, we often seek out simple, quick-fix solutions.