I know, I know - you probably think I've lost my mind. You need to get work done! How can you possibly go to sleep at a reasonable hour?! Besides, since college, you have been well trained to get by on less sleep. By now, you've mastered the art of sleeping less and doing more.
I've got bad news for you. You are kidding yourself if you think you can get by on little or no sleep.
In her book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington describes her 2007 "wake up" call. She was so exhausted and sleep deprived that she collapsed, hitting her head on the desk, resulting in a broken cheekbone, a cut eye, and a lot of blood. This caused her to take a good, hard look at her life and reassess her priorities. It also prompted her to write this book!
She discusses a variety of lifestyle topics including stress, meditation, and sleep. Huffington quotes Drs. Stuart Quan and Russell Sanna from Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine who found that "sleep deprivation negatively impacts our mood, our ability to focus, and our ability to access higher-level cognitive functions."
Interestingly, she also mentions that according to a study in Science, those who are sleep deprived have a greater boost in their level of happiness from an extra hour of sleep than from a $60,000 raise!
A 2013 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans are not getting enough sleep (experts recommend 7-9 hours a night.)
In 1942, 8% of those polled (vs 26% in 2013) got 6 hours of sleep and 45% (vs 29% in 2013) got 8 hours. Three percent reported less than 5 hours a night in 1942; that number was 14 percent in 2013.
What happens when you are sleep deprived?
In addition to finding it difficult to focus, your cognitive abilities become impaired. This means you will be slower in getting work done, less creative in your problem solving, and more prone to making mistakes. You end up spending more hours doing poorer quality work.
It's hard to imagine, but if you got a better night's sleep, you would need to spend less time getting the same work done...and the work you do would be better!
Is all of this talk about sleep making you feel a bit drowsy? Do you feel like taking a nap?
For those of you who are unable to manage 7-9 hours at night, taking a nap is a great option for recharging and restoring.
Firms like Uber, Google, Zappos, and PricewaterhouseCoopers have created napping rooms (or pods) for this purpose. As the evidence mounts in favor of getting more sleep, other companies are sure to follow suit.
In the current, global economy, you might need to be available at odd work hours for colleagues, customers, and clients in other time zones. Consider napping to get the hours of sleep you need to perform at your best.
If you want to increase your productivity, be sure to get enough sleep!
Please don't allow a lack of sleep to get in the way of you getting out to vote. Every vote matters.
For more great productivity tips, check out these recent posts: