Sleep is an essential biological function to maintain vital functions. To consolidate memory or eliminate waste from the brain, rest is necessary. And, in addition, the quality of sleep affects productivity both in the short and long term. In fact, it has been shown how insomnia in employees generates billion-dollar losses to the economy.
Poor sleep makes us less productive
A study carried out by researchers at the University of Oxford and entitled ‘The economic cost of inadequate sleep’ estimated the lack of sleep in Australia at about 45 billion US dollars in the period 2016-2017. With a population of 24.8 million people, that’s a significant number.
While sleeping well means achieving nominal productivity levels , doing so poorly leads to far below normal productivity environments. Although to understand how sleep affects productivity, it is convenient to break down the factors that affect it.
Good sleep allows learning and concentration
“Research suggests that sleep aids learning and memory in two different ways,” they say in a statement from Harvard University. It has long been known that sleep is essential both before an event and after it if it is to be remembered with fidelity.
Something similar happens with concentration in the workplace . Those deprived of sleep are unable to pay attention optimally. Neither is good news for productivity, which requires concentration and memorization skills to develop normally.
Stress levels: higher when sleeping poorly
The lack of sleep also promotes stress levels much higher than those obtained with restful sleep. And the worst is that it sends feedback: high levels of stress can cause insomnia. According to the latest studies on sleep quality and stress, this cycle can be broken after several nights of deep sleep. Since stress is a factor that prevents you from achieving full work productivity, getting a good night’s sleep is essential.
Creativity diminishes if you sleep poorly
Although some studies have found a relationship between geniuses (such as Picasso) and sleep problems, it is disputed whether the relationship is inverse: they are geniuses, they want to create and cannot sleep because of it. For mortals, the reality is that sleep deprivation generally degrades mental alertness and higher-order brain functions, impairing creativity.
And since creativity is one of the great drivers of workplace innovation, it is a good idea for workers to get plenty of rest if they seek to contribute ideas at the business level.
Poor sleep can make you gain weight
The quality of your sleep has a major impact on how you gain or lose weight . In fact, poor sleep quality has been singled out as a promoter of obesity, and it has long been known that workers with advanced obesity have lower productivity than those same employees at a healthy weight.
Of course, having healthy lifestyle habits and doing intense physical exercise frequently is very important when it comes to taking care of personal health, and their lack has a negative impact on business productivity . In addition, it happens that they are also factors that feed into each other: poor sleep can make you gain weight, and obesity can be a barrier to entry to sport that, in turn, helps you fall asleep. It is important to treat them in parallel.
Can Lack of Sleep Cause Depression?
While poor sleep does not cause depression, it can exacerbate it . Lack of sleep can make depression more severe, and vice versa, according to the Sleep Institute. In addition to the personal impact, “depression is a disease with unfavorable effects in the workplace.” The scientific literature has been able to estimate the economic cost of depression, and this is high.
Lack of sleep favors other diseases
A good part of the lack of business productivity is derived from work absenteeism due to sick leave. And this is where an immune system weakened by lack of sleep comes in. There are many studies that link all kinds of diseases with lack of sleep.
Getting adequate rest is essential to being productive, both in the workplace and within society. And lack of sleep or poor quality sleep have far-reaching financial consequences. For this reason, and for the obvious improvements in the personal sphere, it is worth going to bed a little earlier and sleeping as recommended by the experts.
What can HR do?
Support an Employee Wellbeing Strategy
Though there are many reasons associated with why a person is unable to sleep better at night, some might require a doctor’s advice, there are a number of factors that can be controlled through additional help and support. We know that balancing life, work and health is not an easy mix and the world of work is exhausting therefore we encourage companies to adapt to a wellbeing strategy for their employees through which they provide ways for their employees to take care of themselves in a better way.
Encouraging employees for gym memberships, regular physical activities and giving them access to devices like Drowzee’s Pendulum app and headset might be the first step in that direction.
Drowzee’s app and headset can help your employees train their brain during the day for a better sleep at night. As we have already discussed the negative effects lack of sleep has on work quality and productivity of employees in workplaces, it is vital to create strategies for employees that reduce stress and create a positive culture within the workplace.
This all helps reduce absenteeism, as well as its productivity-killing partner, presenteeism.
So, the next time you’re feeling tired or unmotivated when at work, take a closer look at your working environment and ask yourself: is there anything more our business can be doing to help us all sleep a little bit better?