One way of describing an unproductive employee is to say that they “sleep on the job”. People say this like sleeping is the enemy of productivity. But it’s not true at all, and in fact, the trend of workers not getting enough sleep is actually hurting business.
The US loses a total of 1.23 million working days because workers don’t get enough sleep. The total money lost due to a sleep-deprived workforce has actually reached $411 billion a year, and that’s just for the US as well.
So what’s so important about getting enough sleep? Here are some facts that employers and employees need to know about:
Sleep deprivation leads to accidents
Three of the most publicized disasters in recent history are the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, and the notorious 1979 Three-Mile Island nuclear incident. All these disasters had one thing in common: they all had sleep deprivation as one of the contributing causes.
The lack of sleep slows down reaction time in much the same way as driving drunk does. This is why it’s also a factor in many car accidents. Numerous accidents and injuries on the job are also linked to lack of sleep during the night.
Lack of sleep impairs cognitive function
If you’re an employer, you should be concerned that your employee’s lack of sleep may actually make them a lot less smart. Sleep deprivation impairs several key mental functions, such as concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving. It also makes people more forgetful.
Sleep keeps your immune system healthy
Conversely, the lack of sleep makes you more likely to get sick, which explains why so many sick days are requested by workers who don’t get enough sleep.
In fact, sleep deprivation increases the risk for a long list of serious ailments, including various cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. It also increases the risk of diabetes.
It can lead to depression and social isolation
Various studies have shown that those with insomnia are more likely to develop depression. Sleeplessness reduces your desire to interact with others. Those other people react by treating the sleepless person as socially unattractive, and this compounds the sense of isolation.
Lack of sleep leads to weight gain
Obesity is another common problem that’s cited as a contributing factor to a very long line of serious medical conditions. It’s been found that people who don’t get 6 hours of sleep a day are 30% more likely to become obese compared to people who get at least 7 hours of sleep.
It seems that sleep loss stimulates the appetite, and in particular it stimulates the desire for high carb, high-fat food items. Many experts suggest that adequate sleep should be part of weight loss programs.
If you’re an employer, don’t compound the problem by forcing your workers to spend too much time working overtime. Give them time to sleep properly—your employees will appreciate this, and your bottom line will thank you as well.
Other ways to keep you healthy and mindful of work, read on.