The Link Between Sleep and the Workplace

The Link Between Sleep and the Workplace

Most of us know that getting a good night’s rest is an integral part of our health and well-being, but could it also be the key to climbing the ladder at work? According to multiple studies, sleep experts have been able to directly link the amount (and quality) of sleep that a working adult gets each night to their ability to do their job well. Studies have shown that almost one-third of all American workers are getting quite a bit less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night – and it’s taking a huge toll on our work lives. Lack of sleep isn’t just making workers sluggish and cranky, it’s directly affecting their ability to function at their peak, and this is showing in their work performance. Employees that are getting poor sleep affect the workplace in multiple ways:

Diminished Productivity

Sleep deprivation has been shown to lower motor skill function and cognition as much as being intoxicated. Most workers would never dream of showing up to work drunk, but when they show up tired, they are in exactly the same shape. If an employee comes to work deprived of sleep, their ability to function is the same as that of a person that is legally too drunk to drive. This means that they are unable to focus, learn, or remember new things as much as if they had shown up to work drunk.

Weakened Interpersonal Skills

Poor sleep also interferes with an employee’s ability to function socially, as well. And lack of sleep has been shown to alter moods, which can put a strain on all working relationships. Sleeplessness has been shown to impair the ability to empathize, cooperate, and even function ethically. And there has been a direct link between lack of sleep and poor leadership skills. Being able to be a creative and dynamic leader is difficult when you can barely function!

Higher Levels of Stress

Stress and sleeplessness seem to go hand-in-hand. In the last year alone, two-thirds of Americans have reported being significantly stressed due to a lack of sleep. And what is the most reported close of not being able to fall or stay asleep? You guessed it – high levels of stress. Even missing out on one or two nights of sleep is enough to have been reported to raise stress hormone levels.

Increased Accidents

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is the direct cause of 13% of all workplace accidents, and 20% of all auto accidents. Losing out on sleep on a regular basis puts workers at risk of not only injuring themselves on the job but also being injured on the way to and from work, as well. Many employers around the country are introducing new support programs for their workers when it comes to getting enough sleep. These programs offer tips on getting a better night’s sleep, as well as having therapists on hand to address any stress or other issues that are causing sleep deprivation. These programs have been shown to increase productivity, performance, and even innovation in the workplace, and are putting a spotlight on just how important sleep really is to us all.
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