The difference in brain functioning for people who get enough sleep compared to those who don’t is becoming more and more obvious. Yet high achievers, used to squeezing as much as they can into their waking hours, can find it difficult to devote more time to sleep, even if they agree with the concept.
I’ve been recently introduced to an organization called Tuck Sleep, which is a community of people dedicated to pulling together research and knowledge related to sleep, health, and productivity.
This week I’d like to share an article written by one of their members, Mary Lee. Let’s begin a conversation on how we can increase productivity and success by increasing our hours of sleep!
What Happens When You Work Too Much and Sleep Too Little
Some employers these days seem to think that any time you spend NOT at your desk is a time where they lose money. Employees report working 50, 60, 70, and even 80+ hour weeks. If this goes on for a week or two, it’s fairly easy to survive. You know when it will end and plan to get your needed rest then. But when you have to work a lot of hours, all the time, it can become difficult to find time to get the rest you need.
While not getting enough sleep seems like it’s an epidemic, that doesn’t mean that it’s okay. It doesn’t matter how many of your friends are skipping sleep…that’s still not a good choice. You can take control of your own sleep schedule. Need convincing? Here are some of the significant losses that occur when you don’t get enough sleep.
1. Your Employer LOSES Money
Chronic lack of sleep costs the US economy 411 billion dollars every year. That’s more than 2% of the entire GDP! These losses accrue for several reasons. First, sleep-deprived people take over 1.2 million days off every year.
However, this isn’t the only reason that sleep deprivation costs businesses money. Employees who are present but sleep-deprived don’t work as well. They can’t focus, make simple mistakes, work slower, and are easier to distract. Being well-rested is part of being engaged in your job. Set aside at least seven hours per night for sleeping to optimize your productivity.
2. You Risk Chronic Disease
If that’s not enough, sleep is closely linked to a variety of chronic diseases. People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to suffer from depression, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. All of these cause people to take sick days. Chronic disease also can require frequent doctor’s visits.
On top of these diseases, which are tied to a lack of sleep, each of these conditions is also linked to other chronic medical problems. While these secondary problems may not directly correlate with a lack of sleep, they can be brought on by being overweight, depressed, or diabetic. These conditions just exacerbate the problem.
3. You Struggle to Communicate
It may more challenging to communicate with coworkers when you are sleep deprived. Processing and responding to others’ emotions is a complex task that your brain struggles to complete when sleepy.
Emotional empathy is decreased when you’re tired. You may also have difficulty recognizing facial expressions. These symptoms of sleep deprivation make it hard to communicate with your coworkers and clients.
Sleep More, Feel Better, and Increase Your Productivity!
Sleep is essential to healthy functioning for your body and your mind. When you don’t get enough sleep, you suffer. So it’s time to leave your desk, put your work phone away, and spend some time focused on getting the rest you need. This self-care will naturally lead you to a more productive, balanced, and fulfilling life!
About the Author:
Mary Lee is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She specializes in sleep’s role in mental and physical health and wellness. Mary lives in Olympia, Washington and shares her full-sized bed with a very noisy cat.