Home Business Insights & Advice Why sacrificing sleep could be killing your business

Why sacrificing sleep could be killing your business

by John Saunders
1st Sep 19 5:17 pm

We all know the old saying ‘there’s no rest for the wicked’. But what if an absence of rest is actually damaging your businesses rather than helping it to thrive?

As business owners, we make sacrifices for our work every day. Whether it’s socialising, money, time, or stability. Making these changes in our personal lives can often prove beneficial to our business’ success. However, recent studies have shown that depriving ourselves of sleep can actually have a negative knock-on effect on our business.

Your leadership skills suffer

22% of us struggle to fall asleep every single night. And recent study has found that in the workplace, bosses are much more likely to engage in abusive behavior when they haven’t had enough quality sleep. On days where this abusive behaviour took place, the study found that employees were less productive and less engaged than on days where their bosses were well-slept (and therefore less grumpy!).

This study was carried out by the Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, Christopher Barnes, who comments “If leaders want their subordinates to be truly engaged, they should start by looking at their own sleep”.

You become less productive

You may think that staying up until the early hours of the morning working on a new project or business plan makes you more productive. But is this really the case? And what effects does this have on your productivity levels the following day?

Well, an investigation into this topic has recently been undertaken by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The study set out to discover the link between sleep problems and productivity loss in the workplace. The findings showed that those who get less than 5 hours of sleep each night experience 29% more productivity loss the following day than those who get the optimum number of hours.

The director of the Sleep and Health research program Dr. Michael Grandner comments on the false belief that sacrificing sleep allows us to be more productive. “This study shows that, quite to the contrary, poor sleep is associated with lower productivity in general, and specifically across a wide range of areas.” Grandner’s student Robert Yang comments, “This is further evidence that sleep is not wasted time — it’s wisely invested time!”

You lose money

New research suggests that over 1 in 5 of us struggle to get to sleep each night, so it’s no surprise that sleep loss is currently costing the UK economy a whopping £30 billion each year. This figure was revealed by the RAND Corporation, who discovered that the effects of sleep deprivation (higher mortality rate, increased likelihood of illness, reduced productivity, etc) mean that the UK currently loses over 200,000 working days a year due to insufficient sleep.

So how can we improve our sleep to reduce this negative impact?

Sleep tips for business leaders

  • Regulate your sleep cycle – Try to set get used to a routine where you go to bed and wake up at regular times. This will allow your body to use it’s own natural cycle and help you to sleep more efficiently.
  • Set up a bed-time routine – Creating a bedtime routine will help you wind down so you’re ready for a good night’s sleep. Each night, around 30 minutes before you plan to go to sleep, do some relaxing things that you enjoy. Whether it’s having a bath, reading a book or writing your to-do list for the following morning. This will train your brain to recognise that it’s time for sleep.
  • Stay away from screens – This one is by far the most difficult, but one of the most rewarding when it comes to getting more good quality sleep. The blue light omitted from our devices destroys the natural sleep hormone in our bodies (Melatonin), which is why the National Sleep Foundation strongly recommend staying away from screens before it’s time to sleep.

We hope this article has shed light on a few things worth considering when it comes to the relationship between your sleep and your business. So why not try out some of these tips? And see for yourself what impact getting a few more Zzz’s each night can have on your business’ success.

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