In American society, we are asked to be multitaskers, to juggle several priorities all at the same time and to be able to perform each with perfect precision. This is especially true in the workplace where a struggling economy has caused companies to downsize which of course translates into employees who still have jobs having to do double duty. How often do you stay late at work burning the midnight oil to meet that pressing deadline? Do you find yourself up before the sun just so you can clock in an extra hour or two at the office?
It might surprise you to know that while you think forgoing sleep right now will lead quicker to that plush corner office, it will more likely lead to that plush office in the sky. Not only is working late bad for your health, it also affects your on-the-job productivity. Data actually shows that you will perform better after a night out on the town drinking then you will from a night of little sleep.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School has found that sleep deprivation affects your mood, ability to focus and access to higher-level brain function for days after a late night in the office.
Why is sleep so important for brain function?
Research from the University of Rochester has recently shown that while you sleep, your brain is performing an important function that can be only performed during your Zzzz's: removing toxins that build up during the day from your neural activity. If left to accumulate in your brain, they can actually affect your brain function - everything from information gathering and problem-solving to creativity. And of course when you struggle at work, you will also find your stress hormones multiplying as well.
What are the long-term effects of sleep deprivation?
Whoever coined the term "beauty sleep" knew what she was talking about. While you might eat right and go to the gym every week to look and feel great, you still might be putting yourself at risk if you are also not getting the recommended hours of shut eye (at least 7 to 8 hours a night for adults). Sleep deprivation can make you look older (collagen in the skin breaks down with too much of stress hormones in your system), effect men's testosterone levels and sperm count, as well as lead to heart attack, stroke, type two diabetes and obesity for both men and women. According to Quartz, "When you sleep less you eat more and have more difficulty burning the calories you consume. Sleep deprivation compromises your body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and control food intake."
While sleep deprivation is certainly not good for your health, studies have found that it is not good for businesses' bottom lines as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that, a third of US workers get less than six hours of sleep each night, and sleep deprivation costs US businesses more than $63 billion annually in lost productivity."
All the research piling up cannot be denied. The right amount of sleep is essential for not only your productivity at work, but for your overall health as well. With work, family and daily chores, it might seem impossible to get more sleep, but you need to make yourself a priority. Take care of you.