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How sleep deprivation affects work performance

Sleep is an essential element of wellbeing. Without sufficient sleep, we don’t perform at our best. That’s not just the case at home — it can also be a problem at work. That’s right, we tend to underperform at our desk when we haven’t had enough sleep. Here are a few ways lack of sleep can affect our work ability.

Why Sleep Deprivation Is a Problem

The bad news is, there isn’t a decent substitute for a good night’s sleep. There are lots of reasons why someone might not get a good sleep, from stress to room temperature, noise or bad sleep habits. It’s also worth noting that lots of us are probably sleeping on mattresses that are past their use-by night. A visit to an online mattress expert, such as Sleepy’s, can quickly fix that issue.

Lack of Sleep Can Make It Hard to Concentrate

Not having enough sleep can impact neurological functions, which can lead to slower reaction times and trouble concentrating. This can be a big problem at work, especially on detailed tasks. Deciphering numbers or plotting charts may be a lot harder after a night without enough sleep. Tasks can end up taking twice as long to do.

Lack of Sleep Can Leave You Feeling Sluggish

It’s normal to feel groggy or sluggish after a sleepless night. Struggling to stay awake can make us reach for a quick energy boost. Grabbing a cup (or several cups) of coffee or a sugar-rich snack might provide a bit of relief in the short-term, but it’s likely to cause problems as the day goes on. Once the caffeine or sugar wears off, that sluggish feeling can come back with a vengeance. Sugary snacks cause our blood-sugar to quickly spike and then crash, leaving us feeling flat again.

Lack of Sleep Affects Your Memory

Studies have shown we are better at storing memories when we’ve had plenty of sleep. In fact, sleep improves what is referred to as ‘working memory capacity’, which has been linked to our vocabulary, problem-solving skills and decision-making skills. These skills are essential for workers across many different industries.

Lack of Sleep Poses Safety Risks

Being tired means we are not as alert as when we’re well-rested. Unfortunately, this can lead to increased risk of workplace accidents. We are less likely to spot a potential accident when we’re feeling tired, and our reaction time has been found to be much slower than when we’ve had sufficient sleep. For workers operating heavy machinery, or those that spend a lot of time on the road, this can be a real safety risk.

Lack of Sleep Can Make You Cranky

Many of us can attest to having less patience when we’re tired. Sleep deprivation can really impact our mood, leaving us feeling irritable or even depressed. Basically, we are likely to react to scenarios in a more emotional way if we’re feeling tired. Combine this with high-pressure environments, demanding customers or an office full of people also on tight deadlines and it’s easy to become frazzled. Before long, we’re snapping at co-workers and making everyone feel on-edge. Worst still, the bad mood may also be reflected in the way we respond to a customer request, leaving them with a less-than-favourable impression of the business.

Sleep is as important to our health as food and water, so encouraging good sleep habits is essential. In addition to causing problems with our work performance, sleep deprivation is likely to have negative impacts on other areas of our lives as well.


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