We all have the same 24 hours daily, but how we use them is very different. It is essential for people to balance all aspects of life including work, family, finances, and career growth. Unfortunately, the majority of people are unable to do so and find themselves in the middle of the so-called ‘rat race,’ ending up working late nights. The result? Sleep deprivation and an unproductive day at work.
Perhaps in today’s competitive work landscape, people tend to prioritize other activities over sleep. However, they don’t realize that lack of sleep can adversely affect their bodies. In fact, 35% of Americans are not getting adequate sleep, and it is a widespread workplace problem. Ultimately, lack of sleep results in stress and anxiety, impacting employee performance.
But, if you think you’ll work till you hit rock bottom and then sleep for 12 hours, you’re under the wrong impression. Let’s understand how sleep can make or break your career, along with some tips on improving sleep and work performance.
How Can Sleep Affect Work?
It is essential to be productive enough to perform well at the workplace, but you require a good amount of sleep to be productive. So, you can’t undermine sleep. Many people don’t get enough sleep because they want to achieve a lot of things in a shorter time. However, this affects not only your performance and efficiency but also the organization’s bottom line. Studies show that poor sleep has resulted in a loss of around $1,967 in productivity per employee annually.
Moreover, people who sleep less are not as great performers as compared to those who sleep well. Does the day seem too long, dull, and boring sometimes? Well, that’s because you haven’t got good sleep.
Though adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep to function as intended, the truth is that working professionals sleep only for six to six and a half hours every night. But, let us tell you that even those short 30 minutes can make a big difference. Inadequate sleep can lead to multiple health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, and even increased chances of cancer. It hinders your job performance and career growth, causing increased absenteeism and reduced attention span.
Employees who sleep less than eight hours a night are 1.5 times more days absent and cause 1.9 times more productivity loss than those who sleep soundly for eight hours. Productivity loss implies absenteeism, reduced routine work hours, decreased work due to illness.
Generally speaking, your body and mind go into a resting phase when you sleep at night, replenishing all hormones the body has used and restoring the energy needed to kickstart the following day. This applies to everybody, whether you’re an athlete or an IT engineer.
However, this doesn’t imply that longer periods of sleep give more energy to work. Conversely, people who sleep for nine hours or more each night are absent around 1.6 times more days due to illness and lose around 2.2 times more productivity than those who sleep eight hours each night. With more sleep you lose productivity in terms of feeling drowsy, lack focus, or performing less work in more time. Hence, it would help if you had a balanced lifestyle–little or even more sleep results in inefficient work.
Effects of Sleep Loss on Work Performance
It’s a fact that good sleep promotes good health. Sleep deprivation indeed affects your physical health and productivity, but it also affects your performance in several ways.
Sleeping soundly and adequately at night enables our bodies to produce glucose and convert it into energy deposits. Your brain needs glucose to function, and the lack of it can make it difficult for you to stay focused and concentrate during work. Further, sleep deprivation makes you feel tired and stressed, which can be an easy distraction at work, and regaining focus seems like a pretty daunting task.
Hampers Cognitive Abilities
Yes, inadequate sleep affects your cognitive and motor abilities. Cognitive capabilities are critical for brainstorming, creative problem-solving, and even learning new skills. So, learning a new tune in your guitar classes might be challenging if you sleep less than required.
Sleep deprivation also results in brain fog! Don’t worry; it isn’t scary as it sounds. Basically, it causes gaps and blind spots in memories. During a night of deep sleep, your brain processes all events during the day, and sorts and stores information. Indeed, broken or restless sleep cannot let your brain perform this activity. In fact, studies show that good sleep and dreaming boost memory, learning, and knowledge acquisition.
Do you feel like a bear with a sore head or irritated after a lousy night’s sleep? Perhaps, sleep is a significant driver of your mood. If you have not rested well, you feel cranky and more impulsive. While your co-workers hit the day positively, you’re quite the opposite, leading to distressing interactions and tension between co-workers.
However, if this persists long-term, it can cause anxiety and depression. Such an emotional and mental imbalance can lead to misjudgments and wrong decisions.
Tips to Improve Sleep and Work Performance
While we know that lack of sleep is a common phenomenon, one major contributor to sleep deprivation is work overload! Don’t you think you need to draw a line somewhere, especially when it affects your health? Of course, both employees and organizations need to make changes and prioritize health over work. Here are some tips to help you balance work and personal life.
Exercise and Follow a Sleep Schedule
Firstly, you need to make a sleep schedule but make sure to stick to it. When you wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, your body gets accustomed to that sleep pattern. Plus, daily exercise is a must; however, avoid exercising before bedtime.
Maintain a Healthy Sleep Hygiene and Environment
Your sleep hygiene and environment play an essential role in your sleep. Avoid using mobile phones, laptops, or watching TV before sleeping. Similarly, don’t consume nicotine and caffeine after 6.00 PM, and avoid heavy meals as they can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
Additionally, a positive sleep environment stimulates sleep. Keep your room dark, turn off harsh lights, sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow, and don’t forget to keep your room at the right temperature. You can even try listening to gentle music or taking a warm bath before climbing onto the bed.
Foster Flexible Work Schedule
Organizations need to implement flexible work schedules to ensure employees are fit and healthy and have adequate amounts of sleep. We agree deadlines are important, but offering a little flexibility does no harm. Nowadays, many companies are creating nap rooms to let employees take a power nap. In fact, taking a nap for around 10-20 minutes gives you a performance booster and helps you to get rid of excessive yawning and daytime nodding.
Such small steps can make employees happy and feel heard, reduce burnout and increase job satisfaction.
Balanced Lifestyle is the Key to Career Growth
Undoubtedly, your career growth is critical, but with a balanced lifestyle, you can climb the ladder of success efficiently without disrupting your sleep and health. But if you cannot sleep at night not due to work overload but because your partner snores, then an anti-snoring solution like Smart Nora can help you sleep peacefully.
Smart Nora, a small and smart device with intuitive controls, detects snoring sounds and gently moves the pillow to stop them. With Smart Nora, you don’t have to put anything on your face or in your mouth. Nora helps you sleep in comfort and enjoy snore-free nights.