Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Employee Productivity

In today’s “always-on”, globalized, and hyper-connected working culture, we often spend longer hours at our workplace, at times to the grim detriment of our sleep.

According to a recent research, lack of sleep vitally hinders the ability an employee to perform at their best and at times if very often leads to other damaging emotional as well as physical side effects.

Sleep deprivation effects are a “hidden threat” that companies must pay attention to, in order to ensure employee well-being while gaining a competitive edge.

So, in what ways a sleep deficit might impact your work and you?

1. Sleep Deprivation Results in Poor Productivity and Performance

Healthy adults must take a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night, while the recommended range is between seven to eight hours. However, according to a recent research, it has been found that professionals are usually sleep deprived and take on an average only six hours of sleep.

While an extra hour of shut-eye might not appear much, but its effects are quite notable. Several survey respondents accepted poorer workplace performance as a result of tiredness, with over half admitted that they struggle to stay alerted and focused during meetings, take longer time in completing tasks, and moreover, find it a bit challenging in generating new ideas. Along with a lack of diminished creative capacities and focus, reduced motivation to learn and being less able to manage competing demands were also some of the problems faced by the employees due to lack of proper sleep. The cumulative effect of sleep deficit contributes to a less productive workforce.

2. Sleep Deprivation Impacts Physical health

There are significant physical effects of tiredness. Generally, the feeling of lethargy is understood as a standard symptom of poor sleep. While some employees also talk about experiencing other adverse physical symptoms, like palpitations and heartburn.

Sleep deprivation decreases the immune function which consecutively makes you more susceptible to common illnesses, that in turn can keep you away from the office and potentially damages your career. According to a study, all the individuals who averaged less than seven hours of sleep were almost three times more probable to develop cold.

However, more troubling is long-term effects of sleep deprivation. That includes the risk of some serious medical conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes etc., all these are linked with chronic lack of sleep.

3. Chronic Tiredness Destroys Social, Emotional, and Psychological Well-Being

Profound impact on mood and feelings are also noticed among employees as a result of lack of proper sleep. Also, some of the additional dramatic psychological effects of sleeplessness comprise of paranoia, mania, hallucinations and memory loss, all of these prove enormously detrimental on the job.

But, on the other hand, sometimes even the most subtle effects of poor sleep can be real challenging in an organizational environment. Communication and teamwork and play a major role in corporate environments and are fundamental to professional success. Lack of focus due to sleep deficit can put an awful strain on the key social relationships fostered in the organization. Lack of Proper sleep has potentially disastrous outcomes. Not just emotional impact, but sleep deprivation can also take a toll on your cognitive abilities including judgment, perception, decision-making, and reaction time.

Creating An Environment For Healthy Sleep

  • Keep a check that everyone leaves the office at “home time”.
  • Allow employees few minutes for exercise during the entire day working day.
  • Promote Walking Meetings.
  • Avoid sending emails after working hours.
  • Do not offer unhealthy snacks in vending machines or cafeteria.
  • Provide tryptophan-rich snacks to the employees such as bananas and milk.
  • Offer Flexible working hours, where employees can work when they’re most productive.
  • Most importantly, educate your employees on the disastrous impact of sleep deprivation at work.
  • It’s important that you get tired at the end of the day to enjoy sound sleep. Therefore, it’s good to do some desk exercise at work, this will not only keep you fit and active but you’ll also enjoy a good sleep at night.
  • Avoid alcohol towards the end of the day. Although a lot of people think of alcohol as a sedative, it, in reality, disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings.

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