How much sleep do you really need to work productively? This is a question that we’ve heard one too many times as we argue about the importance of a good night sleep in the confines of our work spaces or even at home. Sadly, a lot of people don’t realize just how serious of a problem sleep deprivation is. In fact, in a culture where busy schedules and sleeplessness are glorified, snoozing is only considered as a means to lose and unfortunately, this eventually takes a toll on our performance.
The benefits of getting a good night sleep are no doubt magnanimous. Some of them include:
1. It helps you make much more informed decisions
It’s challenging for you to make informed decisions if you’re half asleep and your thought processes have reduced significantly. Getting enough sleep helps you make more defined decisions in a split of a second because you’re fully alert and your thought processes are at peak performance.
2. It helps you reduce the number of mistakes you do
Even if it’s just a few hours of sleep that you missed, you are still likely to have a slower response time than if you got the recommended eight hours of sleep. This will reduce your accuracy and aptitude to avoid making errors.
3. It helps you recover from distractions much faster
If you don’t get enough sleep even just for one night, your concentration levels and thought processes slow down significantly which then makes it difficult for you to refocus after getting distracted by a chatty office mate or urgent requests brought to your desk.
4. It helps prevent burnout
One of the best predictors of whether you are going to experience on the job burnout at one point or another is sleep deprivation. In fact, most American companies lose up to $63.2 billion yearly because of sleep deprivation.
5. It improves memory
When it comes to memory, sleep is Goldilocks. And although it might not seem like it, your mind does quite a handful of things while you sleep including strengthening memories and practicing skills that you might have learned in the course of the day.
6. It spurs creativity
Besides making memories stronger and consolidating them, the brain also reorganizes and restructures them to make them more creative. In fact, according to researchers at Harvard University and Boston College, people seem to reinforce emotional components of their memories while snoozing and this may help kindle the creative process.
7. It helps sharpen your attention
Have you ever woken up feeling all confused and fuzzy? Like no matter how much you tried your brain just can’t seem to process all that you’re dishing out to it? Well, the truth is, lack of enough sleep often results in an impairment of your attention, decision making, and cognition. Conversely getting enough sleep helps relax your brain muscles and also contributes to sharpening your perception and focus on details.
How to get better sleep
To acquire a good night sleep, there are several things you should do. Some of them include:
- Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleeping. This can be anything between reading or even watching movies and TV.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat just enough before bedtime.
- Minimize your caffeine consumption rate before bedtime.
- Stick to a regular schedule regardless of whether it is a weekend or a weekday.
- Choose a mattress that’s comfortable. This is because a mattress can affect your sleep.
How can bad sleep habits affect you and your work performance?
Sleep and productivity are very closely tied to each other. Good work performance is almost always attributed to a good night sleep among other factors. So how can sleep deprivation impact you and your work?
1. Lack of enough sleep means poor performance and productivity
The studies from American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for one to be a healthy adult, they need to get a minimum of about seven to eight hours of sleep every night. And while for most people and corporate workers this might seem like quite a hurdle, working for hours and hours on end can lead to fatigue and ultimately affect your overall performance.
2. Lack of sleep impacts one’s physical health
People who average less than seven to eight hours of quality sleep a day are more likely to be susceptible to diseases and fatigue. What’s more, there are other severe medical conditions that one stands to expose themselves to including diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity.
3. It affects one’s social, psychological, and emotional well being
Sleep deprivation has a profound effect on your mood and feelings. This can include anything between mania, paranoia, hallucinations, memory loss among other psychological effects which can hugely affect your ability to do our work efficiently.
And while these may seem trivial at first, your irritability may, in the end, affect your ability to work and relate effectively with your fellow teammates which can then cause you problems at work.
Why should companies care about their employee’s sleep matters?
Employees who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to both common and long-term illnesses. This means that they might constantly need to take time off to treat their diseases and this will end up affecting the company’s productivity.
Sleeplessness has a profound impact on the feelings and moods of the employees. It affects their psychological, social and emotional disposition and this might be detrimental to the employee and to some extent jeopardize their relationship with fellow employees.
According to research done by the Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation costs companies more than $2,280 or 11 days in productivity due to lack of enough sleep. If companies want to cut their losses and have a shot at increasing their profits, they need to ensure that their employees are in tip-top shape every day and this will mainly involve allowing them enough resting time and coming up with policies against carrying work home.
Whether it’s for you or for improving workplace productivity, the importance of sleep can clearly not be downplayed at all. It is hence critical to ensure that you get as much of it as you possibly can regardless of how much work is piling at the office. After all, it’s impossible for you to get anything done when you are unwell and entirely out of it right?