Job No. 1 for the American worker? Better sleep.

With so many Americans unemployed — 5.3 million joined the jobless rolls since 2008 — there’s increased urgency to stand out from the competition, says Tempur-Pedic wellness advisor John M. McKee, founder and chief executive officer of the international coaching practice

McKee, a 30-year veteran of corporate boardrooms and executive suites and an expert in career development and success, says those trying to combat the longer work days and added stress of the economic downturn need to first focus on getting better sleep at night.

More than 90 percent of Americans have experienced a problem at work because of a poor night’s sleep, according to Tempur-Pedic’s 2009 Wellness Survey. One in four admit to shirking duties on the job for the same reason, either calling in sick or napping during work hours.

“Unfortunately many people in the workforce today are failing to recognize the important connection between their level of sleep and their professional performance,” says McKee, who has partnered with Tempur-Pedic to help his clients become more successful on the job by becoming better sleepers. “Ultimately, less will get done the more you stay up at night.”

A good night’s sleep begins with a supportive and comfortable mattress. For optimal performance, and the best night’s sleep, The Better Sleep Council recommends consumers assess the wear and tear on their mattress after five to seven years of use and create a worry-free bedroom environment. A dark, quiet room without work-related materials and distractions like a TV or computer is critical for sound, quality sleep.

McKee adds that in today’s economic environment there are a few additional ways workers can help themselves in the areas of self-promotion and digital technology.

“It’s not always the hardest working person who gets the promotion. Successful professionals understand it’s necessary to be visible in the workplace and keep the ‘powers that be’ appraised of their achievements,” McKee says.

First, employees and job seekers should fine tune their “elevator speech,” a short and sweet personal introduction for chance encounters with a boss or a new business contact. Second, they can also be looking for easy ways to share success with their bosses.

Third, today’s worker needs to understand how to make the best use of modern technology for their individual gain. There are now more ways than ever to keep up with colleagues and friends and develop a personal brand. Web sites like LinkedIn — which currently has more than 37 million members — allow for professional and interest-based networking and provide a springboard for job searches and professional introductions.

“But remember, no networking site will be beneficial to your present or future job if you don’t keep it up-to-date with your most current interests and accomplishments,” McKee says.

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Courtesy of ARAcontent

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