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The Science of Sleep and Productivity

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Did you know that as many as one in three adults gets by on six hours or less of sleep per night, when most of us really need seven to nine hours. 

A well-rested employee is a productive employee

Have you ever stayed at work after hours? Or spent the whole night finishing a project? On one hand, you want to finish your tasks or catch up on your responsibilities, but on the other hand, you're setting yourself up for a less productive day at work! If you are sleep deprived, you won't be able to do your job effectively. Why? Let’s explore the science of sleep and productivity. [1]

What is employee effectiveness and why does it matter?

The effectiveness of an employee can be measured by their efficiency. However, it's not about the speed at which tasks are performed - because it's possible to do something quickly, but inaccurately or in such a way that another employee will have to make corrections to the task. It’s no secret that effective employees are the building blocks of any company's success. However, how can we make sure to work in a manner that is considered effective?

One of the key elements of success is very simple: getting enough sleep at night. Faced with this: how much sleep is needed to work well? An adult should sleep between 7 and 9 hours at night. This amount of sleep per night is beneficial not only for our health and overall well-being, but also for our productivity at work.[2]

Sleep and productivity at work

The main consequences of not getting enough sleep are lower productivity at work, feeling tired and irritable, as well as having trouble concentrating. 

Additionally,  a body that’s sleep-deprived has lowered immunity, so the risk of catching seasonal colds increases. This can result in more frequent taking of sick leave. Furthermore, individuals who are sleep-deprived, as a result of their fatigue, tend to be more irritable, annoyed by "little things" which normally wouldn't trigger much reaction under typical circumstances. 

Aside from causing reduced concentration, lack of sleep also negatively affects memory, perception and intellectual performance. Most importantly, and interestingly, an overtired brain can record false memories. [3]

Sleep deprivation and the fatigue that goes with it can result in a strong need to "de-stress" via the Internet. This results in a very common activity, referred to as "Cyber-loafing,"  which basically means slacking off online. Sometimes a tired head is only capable of uncomplicated activities (like browsing social media or mindlessly scrolling through the internet).

A sleep-deprived employee is also more prone to reach for unhealthy, fast food - especially snacks which are high in sugar and fat. Unfortunately, instead of adding energy to continue working, such poor-quality food has the reputation of causing energy levels to take a nosedive. 

And while we're on the subject of energy and the need to recharge…..

How about a power nap? 

Not getting enough sleep means a lack of energy throughout the day - including at work. Occasionally, you may feel that a twenty-minute power nap might be a lifesaver. You’re not wrong.  A short nap, of less than thirty minutes, has many advantages. We described them more extensively in our article, Nap like a PRO: The Secret of the POWER NAP. A nap during the workday can improve concentration, speed and accuracy, in addition to memory. It promotes creative thinking and problem solving, both, which are necessary at work. Mudita Harmony comes with a clever power nap timer to help you recharge during the day. 

Power naps also reduce stress, of which there can be a lot if you have a lot of professional responsibilities. Naps also have the ability to improve our mood. Although the benefits are well documented, most companies don’t promote napping as part of their benefits package, which is truly a shame! This strict approach to power naps during the work day ignores the benefits power naps provide not only to the employee, but in a broader view, also to the whole company.

So, next time, think twice before you sacrifice sleep for a project, because the end result may not be what you wanted. 

If you’d like to read more about topics connected to sleep, please check out some of our other articles published on our blog:

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