Sleep Deprivation and How it Affects Performance
Right after managers and employees have their first interaction, the process of forging their working relationship begins, which is a crucial factor in how they both are going to experience work, how much trust there will be between one another, and how effectively they can carry out assignments. A new and possibly forgotten predictor in the quality of these work relations is sleep. Sleep deprivation for either the manager or employee or both could make them experience an increase in negative emotions at the workplace. Usually, these emotions are represented by hostility. Everyone reading this can remember at least one time when fewer hours of sleep translated into a short temper at the office. This is a common experience for almost everyone in the workforce and, most of the times, it is directly linked to sleep deprivation due to the fact that fewer hours of sleep impairs the part of the brain that regulates emotions.
Hostility can be dangerous for a new professional relationship. Hostility leads to the feeling of threat and can easily deteriorate the psychological safety of people in every possible context. If managers happen to yell at an employee once, it may not be an issue, nevertheless, if this a common practice in the office, employees may feel that their manager is lacking respect and empathy, hence leading to a weak work relationship.
Unfortunately, today’s business world promotes sleep deprivation as the highest ranking achievement possible. If you’re always busy and cannot be bothered to sleep then you’re definitely on the way to the top. The problem here is that science says the exact opposite, so who do we believe? It may sound tempting to trade away some hours of sleep in order to finish a few tasks, but by doing you may sabotage your own success and health. Perhaps it is time to get some sleep, or else you may face numerous risks.
At Harvard Medical School the Division of Sleep Medicine revealed the fact that short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep are quickly downplayed by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on a person’s mood, his or her ability to focus and access to higher-level brain functions. Interestingly enough, the negative effects of sleep deprivation are so considerable that even people who drink manage to outperform those without sleep.
Why We Need Acceptable Hours of Sleep
We all know that sleep is good for our brain and new found evidence from the research done by the University of Rochester has provided us with clear evidence on why your brain cells need you to rest. The study states that when people sleep the brain removes the toxic proteins from its neurons (by-products of neural activity while we’re awake). Unfortunately for us, the brain can only do while we’re asleep. Consequently, the toxic proteins remain in the brain cells, impairing our ability to think and no amount of coffee can solve that. These toxins slow our ability to process information and problem solving; it can also kill our creativity whilst catapulting our stress levels and emotional reactivity through the roof.
What Sleep Deprivation Does to Our Health
Sleep deprivation has been heavily linked to numerous serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and even obesity. The lack of sleep stresses us out because our body overproduces the stress hormone when its sleep deprived, also known as cortisol. Excess in cortisol levels has a host of negative effects that come from the damage it inflicts on our immune system. High cortisol in our body results in looking older, due to the fact that cortisol destroys skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
Sleep deprivation also compromises our body’s ability to metabolise carbohydrates and control our food intake. Sleeping less and less results into eating more and more and also increasing the difficulty in burning the calories we consume. Due to the lack of sleep, our bodies get hungrier much faster and that is done through the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and it also makes it harder for us to get full because it reduces levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin. There is a 30% increase in the likelihood of becoming obese for people who sleep less than 6 hours a night rather than those who sleep between 7 to 9 hours a night.
Besides the fact that it may harm professional relationships, sleep deprivation can also deplete us of the very traits that make us good at our jobs. For example, workplace leaders are known for their charisma and which translates into making employees want to work for and with them. Sleep deprivation saps all of the outstanding personality traits and all we are left with is a robotic, difficult person in its place.
Sleep is a critical part of our wellbeing and without it, we get emotional, stressed-out, forgetful, disorganised people at work. We are more likely to feel helpless and be unable to perform even the most menial of tasks or change perspective when our plans go awry. It’s time we stop encouraging sleep deprivation at the workplace. It’s not doing our career or our bodies any favours.
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