How Sleep Deprivation Affects Productivity (And What to do About It)
We all know we need eight hours of quality sleep each night. But achieving that number often feels like an inconceivable dream. Instead, we find ourselves pouring a fourth cup of coffee and downing energy drinks to make up for our lack of sleep. But guess what? Sleep deprivation affects your productivity and can lead to fatal consequences.
Lack of Sleep Decreases Productivity
Without an adequate amount of sleep, we struggle with concentration, general work tasks, decision making, and recollection. In fact, a 2007 Harvard report listed reduced efficiency and productivity, increased errors and more accidents as side effects of not getting enough shut-eye.
What’s more, a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation found that the US sustains economic losses of up to $411 billion a year (or 1.23 million working days) because of sleep deprivation. For comparison, that’s nearly three times the $138 billion Japan loses.
And if that doesn’t persuade you to hit the hay a little earlier tonight, perhaps this fact from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) will: we are 12 percent more likely to die prematurely if we don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
How Improving Sleep Carries Over to Productivity
In addition to a better mood, you’ll also experience these benefits when you rectify your lack of sleep:
1. Improved Focus
Know that feeling where you “just can’t wake up”? That prohibits your mind from staying clear, your eyes staying open, and being able to concentrate on your goals. Getting less than six hours of sleep each night is one of the best predictors of on-the-job burnout.
2. Better Accuracy
Lack of sleep can lead to silly mistakes that could have easily been avoided. In fact, sleep deprivation can impair your decision-making skills by as much as fifty percent more than being under the influence of alcohol.
3. Sharper Decision-Making
Not only does eliminating sleep deprivation allow you to focus, but according to the NSF it can also improve split-second decision making by about four percent. And every little bit helps, especially in tough situations!
4. Enhanced Memory
When you sleep, your mind declutters so that you can remember the info that really matters. Without the consolidation of information that takes place when you sleep, your ability to learn new information is impeded.
5. Faster Recovery Time from Distractions
Similar to improving focus, getting enough sleep allows you to refocus on tasks at hand after a disruption. When your chatty cubicle-mate or persistent kids steal your focus, you’ll be able to get back to what you were doing more easily.
Going to bed even one hour earlier could make a difference to your productivity. To avoid sleep deprivation, try setting a regular sleep and wake-up schedule, keeping your sleep area calm and putting away electronic devices about an hour before bed.
We’re all about helping your workforce be as productive as possible. See how a health fair could shed further light on your employees’ wellness and productivity.