Costs of Sleeplessness

 

Sleep is a daily resource essential to life and basic functioning, to health, and to productivity and performance. It is essential to the successful accomplishment of all we seek to achieve in our professional and personal lives.

In a 24-hour day many people spend as much or more time sleeping than they do engaged with work or with family or at least it should be that way given that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. But when we talk about time management and the balance of demands between work and family sleep rarely makes an appearance in the discussion. This issue is highlighting the danger and hazards of work-life and strategies that fail to include sleep. The study also finds that people with both work and family demands routinely take time from their sleep to meet those demands and the higher the demands from work and family the more likely that sleep will suffer.

One consequence of drawing away from sleep to meet the needs of daily life is the undermining of social skills and relationships. This can damage the quality of both personal and professional relationships. It can also undermine the trust teamwork and cooperation that exist among people at work and within family at home. It’s a unsettling that in trying to meet work and family needs by borrowing from sleep people risk weakening the very relationships and connections that are the underlying heart of those demands.

While acknowledging that insufficient sleep can hurt family and personal relationships and that stress and strain from personal conflict can have significant bearing on job performance, I will focus from here on the ways poor sleep negatively impacts workplace relationships and social behavior. In recent years, there’s been an increasing scientific interest in the effects of sleep on workplace relationships and behaviors. While there is much for us still to learn.

It important to know that getting enough sleep increases job satisfaction, while also reducing job-related stress. One large study showed that sleep-deprived workers perceived their jobs as more demanding felt that they had less control in their work and also felt that their workplaces were less socially supportive. These employees also had higher stress levels, which in turn were correlated with worse sleep at a two-year follow up. It’s a vicious cycle but we can break it by helping people tend to their sleep.

Given the effects of sleep on social relationships and behavior both in the workplace and in other areas employers’ only underestimate the importance of sleep to employee relations and performance at their own disadvantage. Too often, that is what happens. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you make a night time routine and always try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep daily your performance will improve and you will feel better rested. 

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