Break the habit of working late

If you often find yourself working late into the night, you might be damaging your productivity and your health—especially if you’re not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep. Studies have found that working under sleep deprivation is similar to working drunk, and if you make it a long-term habit you increase your risk of a heart attack. Some advice to handle late-night work habits:

It’s OK to be a natural night owl if you still get enough sleep. Some people are more productive at night, which isn’t a bad thing as long as you’re able to get more sleep in the morning. Don’t work so late that you can’t get your seven hours of sleep in.

Power down your screen one hour before bedtime. If you tend to work too late, the blue light from your laptop can confuse your brain and keep you awake. You might think you’re not tired and keep plugging away at a project when you should be catching some ZZZ’s.

Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time. To break the habit of late-night work, decide what time you need to go to sleep in order to get at least seven hours in, and go to bed at that time every night. Commit to the schedule every night to train your body when to sleep and when to wake up.

Have nighttime rituals to wind down and get ready for bed. Shut off the screens and do something relaxing to de-stress and get your mind off work. Try reading a book, drinking hot tea or taking a hot bath. Avoid watching TV because it also emits blue light.

— Adapted from “How Late Should You Stay Up Working?”, Robin Madell, U.S. News & World Report.