The organizational cost of insufficient sleep – hidden yet massive!

“When the boss doesn’t feel rested, the whole unit pays a price.”

Today as we adjust to a new increasingly hyperconnected world, companies expect their employees to be on call and to answer emails 24/7. But what people didn’t expect was that this “always-on” working culture brought an unexpected side effect – a change in sleep habits, which went on to become a pattern of insufficient sleep.

It has been proven that lack of sleep can fundamentally hinder an employee’s ability to perform at their peak and be disconnected at their workplace. The westernization of the professional space has glorified caffeinated and worn-out employees that come to work with barely any sleep and dump their baggage at the workplace. Not only is that harmful for personal growth, but it also plays a role in setting a negative mood among your colleagues.

Sleep management may seem like an individual issue but if we look closely we’ll see how decisions made by an individual on a personal level can cost the organization, and sleep management is one domain that needs specific and urgent attention.

HOW SLEEP DEPRIVATION AFFECTS THE ORGANIZATION

Sleep deprivation negatively affects work performance, productivity, and working relationships. Many study surveys have proved that workplace performance was affected due to tiredness, with over half the employees admitting that they struggled to stay focused in meetings, couldn’t grasp concepts, took longer to complete tasks, and found it difficult to be creative and come up with new ideas.

Sleep-deprived employees can be moody and less tolerant of co-workers’ differing opinions. They become short-tempered, making them more prone to reactionary outbursts. These are considered relationship-destroying behaviors at the workplace and can impact the entire organization. They contribute to inefficiency and job dissatisfaction.

Insufficient sleep causes serious problems in personal life regarding physical health, affecting your position at the workplace. Bad quality of sleep can decrease your immunity making you more susceptible to common illnesses, which in turn means missed days and sick leaves, putting your job in jeopardy. 

Apart from these short-term effects, lack of sleep increases the risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

There is enough stress and anxiety at the workplace, combine with sleep problems, the situation can appear hopeless. It makes your mood sour, makes you think your future is bleak, affects your cognitive abilities including perception, judgment, reaction time, and decision making. This is another cause of workplace depression. 

And to think it all started because you weren’t giving your sleep importance!

“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

CONSEQUENCES OF INSUFFICIENT SLEEP

  1. Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. • Impairment of your memory and your ability to think and process information. 

  2. Poor quality of life.

  3. Untreated sleep disorders are associated with many serious illnesses, including heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and obesity.

  4. Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders.

Additionally, it has been proven that the more senior position you hold the less sleep you’re likely to get. With bigger responsibility at work, sleep takes a back seat. Everybody is aware that the human body needs an average of eight hours of sleep. But with work, family, and social commitments often consuming a major part of the day, it seems impossible to attain that. Slowly, employees start to believe that they can manage well on a five hourly sleep schedule. And then as the job profile expands, they become accustomed to red-eye flights, time zone changes, and the occasional all-nighter. And before they know, they start wearing their sleep deprivation like a badge of honor. And that’s where the harm is done.

HOW TO FIGHT SLEEP DEPRIVATION

The important gain here is, once diagnosed, most sleep disorders can be corrected. There are solutions to help leaders improve the quality and quantity of their sleep. Many of these are well-known but underutilized. Just sticking to a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule can do wonders. Additionally, avoiding certain substances too close to bedtime, for example, caffeine within seven hours, alcohol within three hours, and nicotine within three or four hours help achieve sound sleep and fight insomnia. 

Low-intensity exercises are known to provide health benefits without increasing the heart rate and body temperature. These activities can help you prepare your mind and body for relaxation. Also, meditation exercises help lower anxiety, making it easier to drift off to sleep.

Today’s work culture might have painted an image to choose work to oversleep, but what we’re doing is choosing quantity over quality. If you want to be the best version of yourself — at work, at socials, and at home — it would be wise to take advantage of what a good night’s rest can offer: sharper focus, higher alertness, better endurance, and a more positive mood and mindset.

“Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.”

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