A New Study Shows That Good Sleep Can Increase Women's Work Ambitions — Here Are 5 Ways to Get It

a woman sleeping


Profile Picture
Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 26, 2024 at 3:21AM UTC
We all know how important sleep is for our physical and mental health. Now, research shows a new benefit of getting a good night’s rest: a study finds that sleep quality impacts how women feel about advancing in their careers.

While men’s career ambitions do not appear to be affected by sleep, the study, which involved a two-week survey of 135 full-time workers in the US, indicates that women were more likely to report lowered intentions to pursue higher-level status and work at their jobs after nights when they slept poorly. 

"When women are getting a good night's sleep and their mood is boosted, they are more likely to be oriented in their daily intentions toward achieving status and responsibility at work," said lead author Leah Sheppard, an associate professor at Washington State University's Carson College of Business. "If their sleep is poor and reduces their positive mood, then we saw that they were less oriented toward those goals."

That’s the why. But what about the how? Here are five ways you can get better sleep — and chase your career dreams.

1. Create the right conditions: a cool, dark room.

Cool, dark rooms tend to be ideal for better sleep quality. A poll from the National Sleep Foundation finds that 73% of Americans find rooms that are darker better for sleep, with 65% of respondents saying they use curtains, shades or blinds to block out light. Meanwhile, the ideal temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature and light aren’t the only conditions that impact your sleep. You should also aim for quiet, although a white noise machine can help with ambient sounds if you can’t avoid noise, and high-quality mattresses, pillows and bedding.

2. Stick to a schedule.

Sure, you may want to sleep in on weekends, but you’ll have an easier time sleeping on weeknights if you get up at the same time every day — this will mean a better sleep cycle and sleep hygiene. 

You should also allot no more than eight hours for sleep. Oversleeping can also adversely impact your cycle. 

3. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

Research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that the effects of aerobic exercise on sleep are similar to those of sleeping pills. 

Exercise has plenty of other health benefits, too, from improved mood and stress reduction to weight maintenance. So, there are really no downsides to incorporating a 30-minute run into your routine. Even brisk walking can help. Just be careful about exercising too close to your bedtime —  experts recommend exercising no less than 1 to 2 hours before bed. You need time for your body and brain to relax.

4. Watch your diet.

Certain foods are better or worse for your sleep cycle. While foods like nuts and milk can boost your sleep, nicotine, caffeine, and/or alcohol are detrimental to your cycle. It’s also ideal to avoid going to bed too hungry or full. Eating too close to bed can also be disruptive to your sleep — you should try to stop at least a couple of hours before you head off to bed.

5. Limit your screen usage before bedtime.

You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but it bears repeating: devices with screens are bad for your sleep hygiene when you use them too close to bed. Research finds that two or more hours of screen time at night adversely impact the melatonin surge our bodies need to fall asleep successfully.

Ideally, you should power down your devices at least one hour before you want to go to sleep. If it’s absolutely impossible, try to turn down the brightness level in the evening.

Try out these techniques, and you could very well be surprised by how much your sleep improves — along with your career ambitions!

NB: Some people suffer from insomnia or other sleep conditions that can’t be resolved by simple interventions. If that’s the case for you, consult a medical professional. 


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is an editor and writer based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab-mix Hercules. She primarily focuses on education, technology and career development. She has worked with Penguin Random House, Fairygodboss, CollegeVine, BairesDev and many other publications and organizations. Her humor writing has appeared in the Belladonna, Weekly Humorist, Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, and Points in Case. She also writes fiction and essays, which have appeared in publications including The Memoirist and The Avalon Literary Review. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for getting a good night's sleep? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always