The Candidate Super Series: How Getting Enough Sleep Boosts Work Productivity

Market Talent logo square AUTHOR

Ryan Kaye

- January 9th, 2023
Candidate Hub

Welcome to Part Ten of the Candidate Super Series. Evidence suggests getting plenty of sleep seriously boosts productivity in the workplace. Here’s how getting consistent, quality sleep enhances your work performance.

work and sleep

Seeking ways to enhance your productivity in the workplace? We’re not talking calendars, to-do lists, and drinking gazillion cups of coffee. We’re talking about getting enough sleep regularly. Sleep deprivation can harm how you perform at work, leaving you feeling less inspired, more tired, and struggling to concentrate on significant tasks.

Surrendering sleep for work, then spending more time working to make amends for the lost productivity becomes a draining cycle. Luckily, knowing the connection between work and sleep can empower you with the understanding you need to stop this cycle. Creating a boundary between your personal and professional life can be perplexing, to begin with. However, it’s a vital stage for a better night’s sleep and a more stable work performance.

Advantages of getting sufficient sleep 

lack of sleep

Excellent job performance and sleep go arm in arm. Once you get enough sleep, your mental health, happiness, and work increase.

When you sleep, your body heals, physically and mentally. Your body repairs and strengthens tissue, your blood pressure changes over the night to support cardiovascular health, and your heart rests.

While you’re asleep, your body produces the hormones needed to fight infections that enter your immune system. Thus, a good night’s kip stops you from getting ill and helps you get better faster.

What’s more, sleep boosts your mood, brain function, and emotional wellbeing. The right quality and quantity of sleep mean you wake up rejuvenated and refreshed. When you’re asleep, your brain generates and sustains pathways crucial for memory retention and formation. In turn, these processes boost problem-solving and learning skills, which you need to perform at your best in your place of work.

What’s sleep deprivation? 

In simple words, sleep deprivation is when you don’t get enough quality sleep. You should be getting between six to nine hours of sleep each night. Yet, as many as 33% of Brits sleep less than before, while one in five (20%) sleep more. And almost half of the UK have issues falling asleep at least once a week. Even more concerning, nearly one in five Brits have trouble falling asleep every single night.

Lack of sleep can happen to any of us. However, sleep deprivation is fairly widespread among workers with more than one job, shift workers, and caregivers.

Because shift workers’ schedules don’t support their natural sleep-wake patterns, they may also struggle with sleep deprivation.

Sometimes, sleep-deprived workers may have an untreated sleep or anxiety condition. Sleep deprivation symptoms vary from person to person. Usually, you simply don’t feel restored when you wake up in the morning. Or, you may drift off to sleep during a meeting without meaning to. Other signs of sleep deprivation include experiencing changes in capabilities and mood.

Lack of sleep affects on work 

sleep deprivation

Sleeping an hour or so less for a couple of nights a week affects your capacity to perform. Lack of sleep in this way is comparable to operating without one full night or two of good sleep.

Lack of sleep symptoms goes beyond merely feeling fatigued. You’ll probably find it hard to think clearly, make memories, or feel cranky. What’s more, sleep deprivation causes a deficit in brain function. With poorer cognitive abilities, you’re slower to respond and less attentive, which means your job performance will be affected.

You may find yourself making more errors and working hard to decide on things. Those suffering from work-related insomnia find it tricky to perform their tasks and experience reduced concentration levels.

Sleep depravity can also cause injuries or accidents at work. In fact, there’s 70 per cent more chance of a fatigued worker having an accident than a worker who isn’t exhausted.

Sadly, lack of sleep gives an employee false assurance in their skills. For instance, a worker may feel more confident about driving when they shouldn’t. Sleep-deprived workers who choose to drive are putting themselves at as much risk as if they had 0.05 per cent alcohol in their blood.

Further lack of sleep side effects on work performance includes financial shortfalls and increased nonattendances. 

Improving sleep

Does sleep deprivation make you anxious about how you perform at work? Happily, we’ve pulled together a few ways you can boost your productivity at work through better sleep:

Re-look at your bedtime routine

At least an hour before you go to bed, switch off any electronic devices that emit artificial light such as smartphones, TVs, and laptops. Blue light from electronics can stimulate your brain so you’re awake longer. Take time out to try a calm, peaceful activity like meditation, a warm bath, listening to soothing music, or reading.

Sleep hygiene 

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – doing so helps your body relax into a steadier sleep-wake routine. Another way to help you sleep includes exercising regularly and doing outdoor activities. Also, avoid working out too near your bedtime.

We also suggest being mindful of what you eat a few hours before you hit the sack. Caffeine and nicotine are big no-nos, as they’re stimulants that can keep you up. So, steer clear of hearty meals and alcohol, as these can interrupt your sleep in the wee hours of the night.

Construct a good sleep setting

The secret to creating a decent sleep environment is:

  • Remove any noise. Use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to eliminate excess noise. Also, you could listen to a white noise machine to conceal undesirable sounds.
  • Make sure your room’s at the right temperature. If your room is too hot or cold, this impacts your sleep. Your body temperature dips when you’re asleep, so try using a light blanket or fan, then see which you prefer.
  • Don’t stay in bed tossing and turning. If you can’t get to sleep within about 20 minutes, get up and try a peaceful activity such as reading. Then, go back to bed when you feel tired.
  • Darken your room. If your room is too light, this can disrupt sleep. Consider getting blackout blinds or using a sleep mask to cancel out any unwanted light.

Have a power nap

If you feel flagged by midday most days, then it may be time to think about a daytime nap. Taking a nap of between 10 to 20 minutes can give you the pick-me-up you need to perform well at work.

Final thoughts

work and sleep

Your new positive sleeping routine won’t happen instantly. It involves a little practice and patience to discover the sleep pattern that fits with your health and body.

The secret to living a completely balanced lifestyle is getting the shut-eye your body needs. This is even more critical if you work from home – you need to distinguish between your personal and professional life.

So, we suggest keeping your bedroom for sleep only instead of using it for your job. If you’re based on-site, avoid bringing work home with you and doing it before heading to bed. Build a clear-cut boundary between your personal and professional life, and your wellbeing and productivity will thank you. Sleep tight!