Productivity isn’t constant. Some days, you get a lot done while other days are less fruitful. There may be many reasons for this such as stress, fatigue, and illness. However, there’s one defining aspect that you may not always consider: sleep quality. Poor sleep can negatively impact performance at the workplace while good sleep improves it. If you haven’t been as productive as you want to be, check how well you’ve been sleeping lately. There’s a very good chance that you haven’t. It’s extremely important to prioritize sleep because it directly ties into physical and mental health.
Sleep is healing. It promotes cell regeneration, strengthens neural connections in the brain, improves mood and memory, and keeps stress levels down. All these manifest when you get good sleep. By contrast, poor sleep reduces cognitive function, saps energy and creativity, and opens you up to sickness and infections. This can set off a chain of events where illness leads to poor sleep and, in turn, poor work performance.
In a study by researchers at Alertness Solutions, more than 4,000 employees at four US corporations were surveyed. They completed the Work Limitations Questionnaire. The participants were divided into insomnia, insufficient sleep syndrome, at-risk and good sleep categories. Participants who fell into insomnia and insufficient sleep syndrome categories showed significantly poor productivity and performance. Those in the insomnia category also used sleep medication the most. What’s more, productivity loss owing to fatigue were estimated to cost companies as much as $1,967 per employee.
It’s important to note that it isn’t just less sleep that can hinder work performance; too much sleep can do the same. This is because sleeping more than the recommended 7-9 hours can indicate an underlying medical condition. For instance, people who oversleep may have sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea, etc. that prevent them from getting uninterrupted sleep at night. When they wake up the next day, they aren’t refreshed and can’t do well at work.
A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that employees who sleep for 10 hours or more miss 1.6 times more days of work because of illness. They also lose 2.2 times more productivity than employees who sleep for 8 hours each night. Poor sleep habits can lead to stress, higher levels of illness and weight gain, all of which can negatively influence employee productivity.
I used to believe I was just a bad sleeper, until I bought my first NUVANNA bed! I haven’t slept this well in years, or possibly ever! I could not be more excited about the quality of this bed and the improvements it has brought to my sleep! This is an investment that you will not regret.
Businesses are slowly waking up to the fact that well-rested employees can work better. Some Japanese companies actually pay their workers to sleep. For instance, wedding organizer Crazy Inc. awards point to its employees if they sleep for at least 6 hours a night for 5 days a week. These points, which have a value of $570 per year, can be redeemed for food in the cafeteria.
What can companies closer to home do? Plenty! Here are a few examples:
Good sleep habits take a little time to cultivate especially if you’re used to erratic sleep schedules. However, once into it, you’ll notice how much better you feel. Get started by powering down phones and laptops when you get home. Instead of binge-watching TV shows and movies, take a warm shower and relax. Practice mindfulness meditation for a few minutes to calm your mind. Read a light-hearted book. Sleep in a quiet, cool room and turn down the lights. Use a supportive, comfortable and sleep-promoting mattress like Nuvanna. Its three layers are specially designed to promote better sleep and alleviate discomforts like back pain. All these suggestions are simple yet effective things you can do to enhance sleep quality.
We spend a lot of time focusing on responsibilities, deadlines, etc. but not enough on sleep, which should be a priority. If you want to improve your performance and get more things done without burning out, you need to get enough sleep. Remember, there are no two ways about it. When you don’t prioritize sleep, you can’t function well.