4 Ways Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance

4 Ways Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance

By Jasmine Carter

A lack of sleep is as detrimental to your career as it is to your health. You may not realize that it’s actually severely impacting your performance at work. World Sleep Day Society relays that 46% of the world’s sleep-deprived individuals frequently miss work or commit more mistakes in the office compared to the 15% who get sufficient sleep. If you’re part of that worrying statistic, you may have to rethink your daily sleeping habits. Most importantly, because there is a link between poor performance at work and sleep deprivation. Here are 4 ways lack of sleep can affect your performance at work.

1. High risk of illnesses:

The main reason why lack of sleep is bad for your career is because it significantly compromises your health. It can cause a myriad of related problems, from fatigue even at the start of a work day to fever and colds that can make you miss work entirely.

Additionally, lack of sleep can also put you at risk of obesity. A previously highlighted research from the University of Chicago concluded that it can lead to significant weight gain, explaining that a shortage of sleep enhances your hunger and can cause you to overeat. This can in turn affect your performance and productivity at work, especially if your job requires manual labor.

2. Less productivity:

Hult International Business School’s Professor Vicki Culpin led a study that linked sleep deprivation to poor performance which focused on managers. If the problem starts at the top, the productivity of subordinates will also be affected as well.

Similarly, the National Sleep Foundation found that professionals worked an average 4.5 hours at home every week, suggesting that they have to work outside of office hours just to keep up with their workload. Managers taking their work home with them can cause a domino effect on the entire operations, especially for businesses with tight schedules to follow. This will in turn, increase the chances of burnout, and affect sleep due to worrying about work.

3. Out of focus:

If you’re sleep deprived, the chances are you will lose focus easily. Leesa detailed that sleep deprived people struggle to focus again after being distracted at work. The fatigue and stress may get to you more easily, both of which are major factors that can affect concentration.

4. Emotional instability:

Work performance and relationships may be compromised if you’re irritable and easily upset. Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Laura Giurge explains that the negative behavior is exacerbated by loss of sleep. “A night of poor sleep can make it harder for someone to stop doing it (displaying negative behavior),” states Giurge. She also found that lack of sleep can encourage negative workplace attitudes and low self-regulation. The emotional instability of employees can make it difficult for the business to operate fully, leading to financial loss. It’s estimated that the US economy loses over $200 billion annually because of poor performance due to sleep related problems.

What can be done? Technology to the rescue!

If you find it difficult to sleep, a number of sleep aid technologies have been developed to solve the problem. Wearables such as the Muse Headband that helps calm your mind for sleeping, and innovations such as Emfit QS’s contactless sleep tracker that tracks your sleeping habits have been very well received by consumers suffering from sleep problems. As stated by the FDA regarding the use of digital devices to improve health,

“These advancements are leading to a convergence of people, information, technology and connectivity to improve health care and health outcomes.”

Whatever you choose to do to remedy your sleeping problems, it’s important to always remember that sleeping benefits not only your health, but your professional life as well.

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