Most people do not get enough sleep these days. We live in a society that burns the candle at both ends. People stay up long hours to study, work, or have fun. People sacrifice sleep in order to get more time to do things.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/node/4605), “Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life.” So to get enough quality sleep can help to protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
You may wonder what sleep has to do with business. Employees and executives that do not get enough sleep do not function at 100% and could cost your business if they make mistakes in judgment or hurt themselves or others because they were not fully alert. This not only can cost the business in workman’s comp but also in lost productivity.
In a Harvard Business Review article “Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer” Bronwyn Fryer the author states the following.
“Sleep deprivation is not just an individual health hazard; it’s a public one. Consider the risk of occupational injury and driver fatigue. In a study our research team conducted of hospital interns who had been scheduled to work for at least 24 consecutive hours, we found that their odds of stabbing themselves with a needle or scalpel increased 61%, their risk of crashing a motor vehicle increased 168%, and their risk of a near-miss increased 460%. In the U.S., drowsy drivers are responsible for a fifth of all motor vehicle accidents and some 8,000 deaths annually. It is estimated that 80,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day, 10% of them run off the road, and every two minutes, one of them crashes. Countless innocent people are hurt.”
What happens when you do not get enough sleep?
Short-term problems could be:
- Slows reaction time
- Lack of alertness
- Risk of accidents and injury
- Affect ability to think and remember
- Make you feel moody and more likely to have conflicts with others
- Quality of life, less likely to want to join in normal activities or exercise
- Less productive at work
- Judgments that are not accurate
- Ability to learn
The long-term problem could be:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack or stroke
- Depression, anxiety and mental distress
- Lower sex drive
- Shorter Life Expectancy
What does sleep do for us?
When you sleep your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. For adults in the workplace, it can improve time management.
Getting quality sleep has many benefits, such as:
- Healing damaged cells
- Boosting your immune system
- Improving your mood and memory
- Recovering from day’s activities
- Enhancing your energy level and concentration
- Recharging your heart and cardiovascular system for the next day
- Decreasing your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease
- Increase in stamina
- Lowers stress
How much sleep do you actually need?
It depends on the individual. A report from the National Sleep Foundation based on two years of research breaks it down into nine age-specific categories with a range for each. But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the right direction to improve your health. So the nine categories are:
- Older adults, 65+ years: 7-8 hours
- Adults, 26-64 years: 7-9 hours
- Young adults, 18-25 years: 7-9 hours
- Teenagers, 14-17 years: 8-10 hours
- School-age children, 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
- Preschool children, 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- Toddlers, 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- Infants, 4-11 months: 12-15 hours
- Newborns, 0-3 months: 14-17 hours
You can get more information on sleep from the National Sleep Foundation. https://sleepfoundation.org/
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/node/4605
Cleveland Clinic - https://health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep/
Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer - https://hbr.org/2006/10/sleep-deficit-the-performance-killer