We get it: Work is your bread and butter, and in a society that glamorizes the grind, it’s hard to say no to late nights and even all-nighters in the name of productivity. You want to prove yourself, land that promotion or seal the deal on a raise—but sacrificing sleep for success could actually be compromising your job performance.
The Better Sleep Council estimates that sleep deprivation costs US businesses over $150 billion per year. You read that right: $150 billion. Every year. Today, we’re sharing the top five reasons sleep deprivation is compromising your game. After reading this, you may just change your mind about clicking send on that 1:00 a.m. email.
1. You’re forgetting your short-term memory (literally)
It’s no secret late nights make you sleepy during the day, but sleepiness is just the beginning: When you don’t sleep enough at night, you aren’t giving your brain enough time for “memory consolidation,” which is like downloading short-term memories onto a hard drive for long-term recollection. So when you wake up the next day, your short-term and working memory struggle to keep up with even the smallest details (and you’ll struggle to make new memories, too).
2. You’re making bad decisions
A UCLA study showed that sleep deprivation compromises the ability of our brain cells to communicate with each other. When it comes to making decisions, we use our prefrontal cortex—but if its functional connectivity is compromised because of sleep deprivation, those decisions start to look a little more questionable. We can’t weigh the pros and cons of a decision as effectively, nor can we respond to risks as responsibly. Ipso facto: Not a good combination for your company (or your job security).
3. You can’t solve problems
When we’re brainstorming the solution to a problem, it’s tempting to work late to figure it out—but it’s not as productive as you’d think. Sometimes we just can’t see a problem-solution fit no matter how long we bang our head against the keyboard. Lucky for you, your creative juices refresh during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, and your brain actually forms links between previously unrelated ideas. So, you wake with a fresh perspective—and probably a solution—to the problem. “Sleep on it” just took on a whole new meaning.
4. You’re going to hurt yourself – or someone else
We may commiserate with colleagues after a late night—hell, we may even wear it like a badge of honour! But feeling tired at work isn’t just inconvenient; it’s dangerous. And we’re not just talking about heavy-machine operators: With less sleep, we all become less predictable. Our focus, decision-making skills, and reaction times decrease, increasing the likelihood of mistakes and accidents—all of which could be prevented with enough shut-eye.
5. You’re costing yourself (and your company) money
This is why we all work, right? To make money—for our companies and for ourselves. But when we aren’t counting enough sheep, we’re making less money both individually and collectively. In a study of over 4,000 employees in the US, sleep deprivation was associated with decreased job performance and productivity. What’s worse, that decreased productivity cost the participating companies over $54 million. Don’t believe us? Read the study for yourself.
So, whether you’re the one pulling late nights at the office, or you’re expecting it from your team, you might want to reconsider how productive (and profitable) those late nights really are. Don’t know where to start with prioritizing sleep in the workplace? We can help. Email us to learn about our corporate sleep health initiatives. Until then, sweet dreams.