How Sleep Deprivation Affects You at Work

While it might be obvious that not getting a good night’s sleep is going to negatively impact your productivity the next day, it may be less apparent that getting less than 7 hours of sleep night after night can also have an impact on ability to do your job.

If you have a strenuous job or you are trying to get ahead in your career, you might be trapped on a treadmill of sleep deprivation. While losing an hour once or twice a week isn’t a big deal, burning the candle at both ends all week long tends to backfire, since you end up not being as effective as when you do get enough sleep.

The signs of sleep deprivation are easy to identify. If you’re regularly drained or distracted at work, if it takes longer to do your job than it used to, if you find yourself suddenly having a quick temper, you probably need more rest at night.

The effects on your brain

Obviously, a lack of sleep makes it harder to concentrate. If your thoughts keep drifting, if you have trouble resisting distractions – the first thing to consider is the possibility that you’re not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation also makes it harder to be innovative. If your job asks you to regularly come up with creative solutions, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Even if you aren’t working as an art director or graphic designer, most companies want their employees to be on the lookout for ways to improve processes, and finding those creative solutions is harder when you are tired all day long.

A lack of sleep also has serious impacts on something called “working memory capacity”. This kind of memory appears to be linked with decision-making, language, problem-solving, and reading comprehension – all abilities required on the job.

Finally, not getting enough sleep could lead to you feeling burned out. A study published in 2012 found that averaging less than 6 hours of sleep makes is harder to recover from the daily stresses of work. The snowballing of daily stress ultimately leads to feelings of burnout, the study said.

The knock-on effects for your job

The cumulative effect of not being able to concentrate, innovate, recall information and recover from stress is a drop in productivity, which can result in lower earning potential. A 2014 study showed that when participants got an extra hour of sleep each night, it resulted in an average 16-percent boost in pay over the long term.

Furthermore, if you’re feeling burned out, your work is suffering and you are putting yourself at risk of getting fired.

The effects on your body

Study after study also shows how important sleep hygiene is to physical health. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease have all been linked to chronic sleep deprivation. These “lifestyle diseases” can ultimately lead to a shortened lifespan.

At Labor Temps, we support healthy habits in job seekers, our contract workers and the folks at our client companies. If your job situation is causing you to lose sleep, please contact us today to discuss possible solutions.