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Gauging the Impact of Sleep Quality on Work Performance

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Are you giving your employer your best? If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, there’s a good chance that you aren’t operating at full capacity during the day.

In our increasingly competitive and technologically advanced world, workers face pressure to be productive or risk being replaced by a more efficient alternative. Fortunately, something as basic as better sleep can have a dramatic impact on your work performance.

How Poor Sleep Can Impact Your Workday

If you’re regularly falling asleep at your desk, struggling to pay attention during meetings, or forgetting what your boss just said, you’re not only being unproductive but also shortchanging your employer. And you don’t have to pull an all-nighter to feel these types of effects – an hour or two of lost sleep is all it takes to impact your performance.

If you’re not getting the sleep you need each night, the results at work can be disastrous. Numerous studies reveal that poor sleep can have a significant and even deadly impact in the workplace. Major disasters such as the Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island nuclear accidents, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Challenger explosion have all been linked to sleep-deprived employees.

According to a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll, 29% of respondents admitted to either falling asleep or being very sleepy at work in the past month. 12% admitted that they were late to work due to sleepiness in the past month.

Better Sleep Habits Lead to Improved Work Performance

Sleep not only makes you more alert during the day with some extra energy, but it can also boost your mood. According to Sleep.org, there are several ways that better sleep habits can improve your work performance.

  • You’ll make better decisions. Adequate sleep improves your ability to make instant decisions by as much as four percent. In the workplace, every edge counts!
  • You’ll be less distracted. When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s easier to get distracted by co-workers, social media, or just about anything. This will be less of an issue when you show up each morning refreshed.
  • Your memory will improve. Getting enough rest will help you retain what you learn and avoid forgetting what someone just said.
  • You’ll make fewer mistakes. Even moderate sleep-deprivation can reduce response time by 50% and lower your accuracy rate on the simplest tasks.
  • You’ll avoid job burnout. Poor sleep costs U.S. companies an estimated $63.2 billion annually in lost productivity. Catch up on your zzz’s and enjoy a long and happy career.

Make Sleep a Priority for the Sake of Your Career

When life gets busy, sleep is often the first thing people give up. But this could be a massive error since any sleep deficit will have an impact on your ability to do your job at the highest level. When you decide to make sleep a priority, you’ll find that other areas of your life (career, health, family, wellbeing) will thank you.

So, how much sleep do adults really need each night? The amount varies depending on your age. It’s generally recommended that adults age 20-64 get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Adults age 65 and older need about seven to eight hours of sleep nightly.

Some of the things you can do to improve your sleep quality and quantity include:

  • Go to bed at the same time every day, give or take an hour.
  • Wind down during the hour before bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy meals within several hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine within several hours of bedtime.
  • Sleep in a comfortable, dark, and cool space.
  • Keep track of your sleep quality to note areas of concern and improvements.

Given that sleep can give you that extra edge in your career, it makes sense to give this area of your life more attention.