What You Should Know About Your Sleep, Work, and Productivity

This post is sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Today’s work environment is both demanding and competitive.  So much so that it’s common, and sometimes expected, that work weeks edge into the 50 or 60 hour range.  In the U.S. the average work week is 47 hours, and for salaried workers it’s 49.  And almost 20% say they regularly exceed 60 hours.  With the other demands on our time that come from family and general life, it’s become easy to carve out “extra time” from our sleep.  But how wise is that? What are the effects of being sleep deprived?

While we all push ourselves, for work or pleasure, from time to time.  But doing so at the expense of sleep can be counter-productive in a number of ways.  Here’s a look at how your sleep, work, and productivity are related, and what the real costs of insufficient sleep are.

Insufficient Sleep by The Numbers

With the aforementioned statistics, it should be surprising that 37% of workers are clocking in sleep-deprived.  Although it’s frequently viewed as a badge of honor to burn that midnight oil, there’s a cost.   Those costs include –

  • For someone regularly getting only six hours of sleep, there’s a loss of six days of productivity over the course of a year. (National Safety Council)
  • Nationally, insufficient sleep accounts for the effective loss of nearly 1.25 million working days annually. (RAND Corporation)

Clearly, it’s no wonder the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests including the importance of sleep in employer health and safety programs with it’s #SleepWorksforYou program.  Sleep education in general, and why adequate sleep is so important, has been overlooked.  It’s essential to raise the general level of awareness.

How Being Sleep Deprived Affects You

You may think that pouring in a few extra cups of coffee or having another soda is the antidote to sleep deprivation.  But that’s not true.  Adding increasing amounts of caffeine only masks the effects.  That “energy boost” you feel is hiding reality.  Here’s what’s really going on:

  • Your decision-making  ability is impaired.
  • You’ll find that your problem solving skills are reduced.
  • You’ll have cognitive and motor performance deterioration, comparable to drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • You might be accused of non-functional work presence (“presenteeism”) increases.
  • You’ll have increased cycles of feeling less motivated and low-energy.

Beyond Productivity Loss

While loss of productivity may be of high importance to the bottom line, there’s more.

  • Sleep deprived workers are more  prone to accident and injury.
  • Continual sleep deprivation has a negative impact on general health.

Each of those, of course, reflects ultimately on productivity.  So both short term and long term, it’s beneficial to employers to promote healthy sleep habits.

Want To Be More Productive?  Sleep More!

accurately, you should get the proper amount of sleep.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends seven or more hours on a regular basis for healthy sleep.  Don’t be tempted to short-change yourself of what your mind and body require to perform at their best.  It’ll pay off in higher long-term productivity.  And, you’ll get a nice bonus of better health!




Linda Allen

I'm a serial entrepreneur, with a resume that makes me look like a Jane of all trades. Pretty sure we are all reluctant Messiahs, travelling through life planting seeds where ever we can. Hopefully, most of mine have been good ones! MA from Miami University (Ohio, not Florida), BA from Cal State.

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