Sleep and Productivity: A Commonly Neglected Relationship

Adults in the 21st century are often sacrificing the time they spend sleeping in order to fit in extra works hours or important tasks that would otherwise be left undone. In reality, if more people slept longer and to a schedule they would find they could get more done in less time.

As humans we need sleep to function and keep our brains energised. Food is also essential for us to function properly but, as Tony Schwartz explains, being without food for a prolonged period of time is far less strenuous and much easier to recover from than being without sleep for a prolonged period. Even an hour less sleep in a night can leave you feeling emotionally unstable or unexplainably angry. This is because sleep directly effects the levels of our physical energy which in turn powers all other aspects of our bodies. The Sleep Foundation confirms that different people need different amounts of sleep to suit their personal needs but on average adults need between 7 and 9 hours to be fully energised and work most productively. Asian Efficiency has advice on how to measure  exactly how many hours someone sleeps and how to properly regulate it.

Consequences of Insufficient Sleep

A consequence of insufficient sleep which is most commonly evident is the subsequent drop in productivity levels. Charles Czeisler, chief of the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, explains just how much sleep effects productivity  in light of a study on factory workers.

Besides a drop in productivity levels and a change of attitude, a lack of sleep can increase the chance of serious risk and injury in the short term. In the long term, a lack of sleep can have dramatic effects on an individual’s health. Including, but not exclusive to, diabetes, higher blood pressure, obesity and in extreme cases early mortality.

How to Up the Quality and Quantity of Your Sleep

There are a whole host of tips on how to regulate and improve an individual’s quality and quantity of sleep. Here at Honeydew Health we recommend the following:

  • Make your room a sleep-friendly environment– It is important that your body and mind associates your bedroom with relaxation and sleep. This way it will be much easier to wind down and actually get to sleep when it comes to lying down in bed. The Sleep Foundation has tips on designing the perfect sleep-friendly environment.
  • Set a time to go to bed and be asleep by then– Simply regulating a specific time to sleep will help imprint a schedule into your body’s routine and will also ensure you do not go to sleep too late. After all, everyone sets a specific time to wake up, it should be the same for when we sleep also as to ensure the right amount of sleep is gained.
  • Read a book/magazine and avoid the computer– Avoid the brightness and artificial light from a computer screen late at night as it puts strain on the eyes, especially if the room is dark. Instead, using a lamp, read a book or magazine to wind down and relax.

As explained, sleep directly effects a worker’s productivity and a lack of sleep can also lead to long-term illness. It is, therefore, essential for companies to monitor sleep related absence and intervene before such absences incur big financial costs. Start using Engage today for free and see how much sleep related illness is causing your business.