The hustle and bustle of today’s modern world has many people running around trying to squeeze as much as they can into every spare minute. Companies put more and more pressure on their employees to increase productivity and the bottom line; we put more and more pressure on ourselves to do more, make more, be more…but to no avail.
Instead of reaching the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we end up weary from the ailments of stress, overcompensation, and sleep deprivation. Though to some it might sound nonsensical to waste your day away in bed, people who spend more time snoozing are actually more productive.
Remaining awake for more hours of the day will not boost your productivity; in fact, depriving yourself of sleep to pack in all of your to-do’s will only leave you inefficient and exhausted. While it seems to be an uncomplicated theory, many of us sacrifice sleep the moment that life becomes too hectic.
Fortunately, Corporate America is beginning to take notice of how sleep affects our productivity levels. In a positive turn of events, sleep wellness programs are making their way into corporate health programs. Companies who have invested in these formal programs have seen boosted employee morale, increased productivity, and better attendance.
Over a period of only 8 years, a major corporation avoided more than $21 million dollars in health care expenses because of their sleep program! Some companies are even allowing employee nap time to cash in on the profits that come with sound sleep….but should we allow Corporate America to reap all of these rewards? It’s time we take our health and wellness into our own hands.
Most people are shocked to discover how much their sleep is linked to happiness, productivity, and professional success. It would only make sense to embrace a healthy sleep schedule as a way to improve our own life and prosperity.
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell analyzes stories of success… you might remember hearing about his wildly popular “ten-thousand-hour rule” that asserts that what we believe to be innate talent can, in reality, be boiled down to many hours of practice.
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Gladwell links the personal success of any sort to dedicated practice; he preaches that ten thousand hours of practice will result in mastery in almost any arena. By referencing a study from the early 1990’s by K. Anders Ericsson, a Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, Gladwell was able to prove this hypothesis. Ericsson had studied violin prodigies and found that by age 20 “the most elite performers had averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice in their lifetime, while the less able performers had only clocked 4,000 hours of practice.”
However, Gladwell left out one very crucial component to the violinists’ mastery….
In an article for The Connection, Shannon Harvey shines light on that missing link:
Ericsson also found that sleep was a major factor in influencing peak performance. The top performers were those who slept on average eight hours and 36 minutes a night, about an hour more than the ones who didn’t quite make it to the top. The virtuosos were also more likely to take a nap during the day, especially before public performances.
As corporate America embraces the importance of sleep due to its strong correlation with increased revenues, we should embrace the importance of sleep as it relates to our own health and wellness.
Many people have been operating under negative stereotypes about indulging in sleep. Society and technology have convinced us that it’s okay to go against our natural body rhythms when, in fact, sleep isn’t indulgent or unproductive. Depriving ourselves of sleep can not only have devastating effects on our bodies, minds, but sleep is also vital to our peak performance regardless of the task at hand.