As an American society, we burn the candle at both ends more than any other country on the planet. Whether were studying, working, or partying, it seems that sleep is something we just don’t have time for. However, the short-term and long-term effects of sleep deprivation can be severe and often counter-productive to your overall goals and ambitions in life.
Whether you’re not sleeping well or not sleeping at all, the implications of sleep deprivation are connected with disease, depression, poor performance, and sluggishness. If you are a working adult, these imperfections in your sleep cycle may ruin your productivity and increase stress in the workplace.
Here are five of the most prominent ways poor sleep may be hindering your productivity.
Poor sleep lowers judgment – Have you ever attempted to make a critical decision when half asleep? Well, from my experience it never quite works out as planned. This is mostly due to the fact when you are tired your brain receptors do not process information as quickly. As a result, your physical reflexes and decision-making skills suffer greatly. At work (depending on where you work it could mean life or death), sleep deprivation can cause injuries and will cause poor judgment. In addition, your ability to learn and retain information becomes more difficult – as well as serious mood adjustments and stress.
More mistakes occur – Studies have shown that even one sleepless night can contribute to a 20-30% increase in errors made. These studies were conducted on surgeons, who often put in long hours and have extremely stressful jobs. Without sleep, recovery is very hard to come by, and when the body begins to shut down, mistakes are very likely to occur.
Further health problems and missed time – If you are not sleeping due to work at your workplace, you may want to tell your boss that sickness, health problems, and missed time will hurt their bottom line more than you taking down the work load. Sleep deprivation introduces headaches, future disease development including heart conditions, and decreased drive for action. I doubt your employer wants these things out of an employee’s productivity.
Sleep disorders will affect work hours – Sleep deprivation causes long-term sleep disorders that may introduce drug and alcohol abuse. Coffee is not always the solution, but rather, 8 hours of continual sleep with adequate R.E.M. cycles will bring you back to normal in no time. Unless you want to find yourself sleeping at work or nodding off in the annual shareholders’ meeting, stay away from the coffee and alcohol and hop into bed at the right time.
Understand all of the consequences – Lack of sleep may help you accomplish more in the short-term, but long-term you are going to feel the consequences of your actions. At work you may experience frequent sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, loss of memory, sluggishness in productivity, and irritable mood changes. All of these emotional consequences are going to increase stress on your relationships with co-workers and management – or if you are management, you may lose the trust from others necessary to lead. Always think about the long-term goals of your life and don’t attempt to take shortcuts to get there. More than anything in the world, sleep is the most important factor in a healthy lifestyle. Whether you are attempting to lose weight, increase productivity, or stabilize mood, sleep is the foundation to a healthy life. If you are currently struggling with sleep deprivation, try hot tea at night, turn-off the electronics, and read a nice boring book – this will put you to sleep in no time.