- October 2, 2017
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Health & Wellness
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation On Your Day At The Office
A blog post by Guest Blogger, Jenna Jamieson.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress at work. I should just skip an hour of sleep for a few nights and get this stuff done.”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever done this. I know I have. We’re constantly fed this misinformation that working hard means burning the midnight oil. We’re told that the rewards we reap are going to be worth our pain. To an extent, there is truth to it. Sleeping late or waking up too early once in a blue moon to complete a project or get pending chores in the home finished helps. But what if it becomes a habit?
A Culture of Insomnia
Cutting hours from one’s required amount of sleep is just one of the many ways we deprive ourselves of valuable sleep. When I call sleep valuable, people often roll their eyes. How can periods of inactivity be invaluable? Think about it. When you’ve walked a great deal, doesn’t sitting or lying down feel like a million bucks? Your brain is constantly active, even when you’re gazing at a blank wall. Sleep is when it gets to relax. The brain is just as important as one’s legs, if not more.
There are other ways we destroy our quality of rest as well.
Mobile phones are the biggest culprits (be assured, I’m not your mom writing this article). Having it lying around when you sleep might not be causing your brain to melt but it does prevent many (if not most) from relaxing. A buzz here, a notification there, and the constant lure of the internet with its many wonders.
Then, there’s a thing like noise from outside, whether it be sounds of the traffic or a street light that shines right through your window. Uncomfortable beds and mattresses, as well as the related ache and pains, trouble the tired as well. Collect the huge number of people all these factors affects, and you can see how poor sleep is almost an epidemic.
How poor sleep can undo our workplace performance
Experts believe we are in the golden age of sleep. From sleeping in huddles in the jungle to the lavish ebony and gold bed of Tutankhamen, we live in a dream world now where we no longer need to sleep on hay with coals underneath the bed. We have the best mattresses and bedding, linen and even audio aids to help us sleep. And yet, despite the stress we battle with all the exertions of an average day, we’re still sleeping poorly.
Turns out, this habit of skipping sleep has its ill effects that if piled up can easily outweigh whatever profit you find through it. The many dangers of having low sleep can perhaps never be completely listed. There is not one body part or activity in life in which your brain is not needed.
Here are some adverse effects poor sleep can have on your day at work.
- Insufficient sleep is likely to make you groggy, irritable and less attentive. These can all be responsible for road mishaps throughout the world.
- You cannot perform tasks you could have otherwise carried out in a few minutes. This is because your brain is working at an abjectly low capacity. It has not been tested properly, and it has to fight a lot of metabolites and toxins to get things done.
- You have trouble recollecting what you read through or heard. Without proper sleep, your brain hasn’t had a proper chance to shift stuff from short-term memory to long-term memory.
- Your body language, skin appearance and area around the eyes all changes significantly enough to be noticeable to people around you. It gets passed off as being badly groomed. This isn’t the best idea if you’re trying to bag that overseas business meeting where you represent your branch or company.
- Stress is less bearable to your tired mind. The least bit of stress can now take you into overdrive. You either blaze through the tasks at hand only to end up realizing you’ve done it all wrong, or you just go mentally numb and nothing gets accomplished. To many, this can cost them their jobs.
- Poor sleep ups the risk of heart disease and stroke. This can rob you not just of work and salary, but also your savings.
Working in such a mentally disadvantaged state can be detrimental to your health and to your performance and image at the workplace. Those who operate heavy machinery could be risking their lives when they work in a state of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep has also been associated with debilitating mental illnesses such as depression, personality disorders and anxiety disorders. These are all long-term consequences that can emanate from lack of sleep.
How much sleep should you get?
There is no strict need to sleep 8 hours each night. Furthermore, each individual’s sleep needs vary. However, it is a good rule of thumb to ask yourself if you’re waking up tired, or are pushing through a feeling of perpetual fatigue. If you are, you are probably sleep deprived. You need to make changes. Keeping electronics in a different room helps. Get a good mattress that helps you sleep. Get good blinds, plug in earphones and turn on white noise, if necessary. Sleep is crucial.
There’s nothing you don’t need your brain to do. So keeping it prepared to take on the day comes before anything else you might have plans for.