Sleep and Work Performance

A good, or bad, night’s sleep goes a long ways toward determining your next day’s performance at work. Obviously, a good night’s sleep generally results in a focused, vigorous approach the next day, whereas a poor night’s sleep leads to the opposite result — lack of focus and energy.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducts regular surveys about Americans’ sleep patterns, and results show that the average time Americans sleep each night has continually pushed toward six hours, well below the seven or eight that are needed.

Lots of factors contribute to our lessening hours of sleep, not the least of which are work-related stress and the drive to get ahead — or just survive. Regardless of our need to pay the bills and even get ahead somehow in life, it’s counterproductive to do so at the expense of sleep.

What are some of the known next-day results of poor sleep?

  • The NSF says that even one night of shortchanged sleep can lead to a 32-percent reduction in daytime alertness.
  • Lack of proper sleep results in slugginess, fatigue and inability to focus fully the next day.
  • If your sleep disrupts your partner’s night, the next day can see frayed nerves, shortened emotions and arguments.
  • Lack of sleep can also lead to strained relationships at work, as your emotional stability will be challenged by sleep deprivation and its residue.
  • Lack of proper sleep increases by twofold your chances of an accident at work or on the highway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy drivers are responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities.
  • You may find yourself fighting sleep or even dozing off at everyday events such as meetings at work or watching your son or daughter at Little League. At the very least, you will find it hard to pay attention at routine events. Watching TV in a comfy chair may mean lights out for a nap.

On top of these everyday difficulties, continued sleep difficulties can lead to serious health issues, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and even stroke.

Don’t take an inability to sleep as “normal.” It may be trending toward the norm, but don’t join the sleep-deprived club, or once a member, stay there very long. You need your sleep to lead a full, robust, happy and fulfilled life. Seek out professional help if your sleep is an issue.

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