Lack of Sleep and Your Job Performance

As much as we would all like to get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night, the fact is that this just doesn’t happen sometimes.  Life gets in the way.  Children wake up in the middle of the night.  A night out with friends goes a little longer than usual, or you might need to stay up late doing a favor for a friend.  Stress may keep you tossing and turning all night and even though you might be in bed for 8 hours or more, you likely aren’t getting enough sleep. When nights like this add up, a lack of sleep is the result and this can affect your job performance.  Your concentration lags and the quality of your work may decrease by as much as 30% when you don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation is associated with various factors that can affect your work performance.  One of the things that it affects is your ability to make good decisions.  When you don’t get enough sleep the prefrontal cortex of the brain is affected and this influences your ability to make decisions, as well as your social and emotional reactions.  Not getting enough sleep can also affect how you react to others in your workplace. You might be irritable or cranky or quick to anger.

High blood pressure is another side effect of not getting enough sleep because sleep helps to even off stress hormones.  This can leave you feeling more stressed than usual and can increase your blood pressure.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

The truth is that there is no special number that applies to each person.  Some people feel best when they have 6 hours of sleep while others need 9 hours to perform best during their work day. This is called Basal sleep.  The actual hours that you sleep matters less than the quality of sleep that you get.  If you wake often throughout the night or toss and turn a lot, that 8 hours of sleep might not be providing the time you need to recharge your battery.

How Can You Get Better Sleep?

Try going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends when you are not working.  Create an environment that is calm and soothing.  The room you sleep in should be just for sleeping. Avoid having a television in your room.  If you read before you go to bed, try to read something that will not over-stimulate your brain, like action filled horror books.  Watch television in a different room.  Turn your phone off so that you are not distracted by the noises.

You will find that if you get enough sleep and the quality of your sleep is good, you will have better performance at work.