A Wake-up Call For Leaders Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Most leaders don't get enough sleep. We burn the candle at both ends. However, sleep deprivation yields short- and long-term consequences.

Do you burn the candle at both ends? If so, you’re not alone. However, quality sleep is one of the keys to doing well in your business. A lack of sleep can increase your risk of making mistakes that could result in serious injury or death in some instances. In some cases, an error might result in sensitive information getting into the hands of a hacker or other unauthorized individuals. Here are several ways sleep impacts workplace performance.


How much sleep do you need?

The Department of Labor (DOL) says that the average adult needs at least eight hours of sleep per night. However, a 2005 study from the National Sleep Foundation found that the average adult sleeps less than seven hours on an average weeknight. Anxiety, using devices right before bed and increased body temperature when trying to fall asleep all can have a negative effect on sleep quality.

Photo: © Jacob Lund, YFS Magazine
Photo: © Jacob Lund, YFS Magazine


A lack of sleep impacts alertness

According to data published by WebMD, losing as little as 90 minutes of sleep per night could make you 32% less alert during the day. An inability to concentrate can make it difficult to retain or process information in an adequate manner. For instance, you may forget to turn in an assignment on time or fail to address a customer complaint because you can’t determine what the issue is.


Poor sleep can result in poor health

Failing to get enough rest can lead to a variety of health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart failure. These issues may put you at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, poor health can limit what you’re able to do at work or limit the types of jobs that you are able to take.


Sleep deprivation linked to mental health

It isn’t uncommon to feel angry or irritable when you’re tired. You may also get frustrated by the fact that you can’t remember or process information in a timely manner. These factors may start you to doubt your effectiveness as a professional or value as a person.

In some cases, these feelings may be exacerbated by problems at home that are caused by your irritability or changes in personality caused by a lack of sleep. If you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, it may be causing your significant other to experience sleepless nights as well, and this may be what is causing strain in your marriage. Therefore, if you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, the solution may be to go to bed early over the next several nights.


Tiredness impacts leadership and workplace culture

When you’re tired, you might not be in the mood to listen to your colleague or employee talk about his or her weekend. Furthermore, you may not be in the mood to listen to your boss give another speech about workplace policies or other topics that are seemingly mundane or trivial.

If you aren’t satisfied with your working environment, you may be more likely to lash out at others or do the bare minimum each day. In addition, your poor attitude may create a toxic work culture that causes others to feel bad about themselves or resent their coworkers.


Why is it so hard to wake up in the morning?

There is a chance that you might be so tired that you’ll sleep through even the loudest of alarm clocks. Furthermore, sleep deprivation is linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. If you’re involved in an accident, you might find yourself stranded on the side of the road waiting for a police officer to take your statement as opposed to preparing for the morning staff meeting.

Ideally, you will create a routine that allows you to sleep for at least seven to eight hours each night. IF you work overnight, sleeping at least eight hours at the same time each day can make it easier to be alert and effective at work. Furthermore, getting adequate rest can help you maintain positive relationships with your colleagues. This can cultivate a positive workplace culture that may negate some of the less desirable aspects of your work.


Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.


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