The Relation Between Sleep and Productivity

Tempted or told to power through your fatigue? Think twice! Sleep experts and sufferers have a word of caution for students, employees and all the other night owls who think compromising on sleep is the only way through.

As per America’s National Safety Council (NSC), in 2018 fatigued workers cost employers about $1,200 to $3,100 per employee in declining job performance, while sleepy workers estimated to cost employers $136 billion a year in health-related, lost productivity. On top of that, almost 13% of work injuries were attributable to sleep deprivation. We can only imagine the severity of the problem here in India which is the second most sleep-deprived nation.

The Sleep Less, Do More Culture

Starting from academic pressure in school and college to irregular and extended work hours, most of us grow into becoming sleep deprived individuals without even realizing the importance of sleep. The idea of not sleeping until you are not tired or not busy enough is often encouraged and rewarded. But guess what’s the irony?

By letting go of quality sleep you are actually making it harder for your body and brain to function at its best, making it challenging for you to get things done. The effect of sleep deprivation is directly linked to daytime fatigue, poor concentration and mental sluggishness- a nightmare for any hardworking and ambitious individual.

Relationship Between Sleep & Productivity

Today’s lifestyle has all of us striving for productivity. With most of us performing dual roles to juggle between work and personal life, staying active and alert is crucial.

A global sleep survey conducted by a leading brand in 2020 concluded that 61% of adults around the world believe that their memory is worse when they have not slept well, while 75% admitted they are less productive after a poor night’s sleep.

We are not surprised! Sleep has a profound impact on our mood and feelings. Good good sleep can improve concentration and productivity. Lack of it can cause irritability, creative impairment, poor memory, all of which can have a negative effect on our work performance.

Temporary aids and fixes like coffee, nicotine and energy-drinks might seem to help one get through the day and boost productivity, but such stimulants come with a bunch of side effects in the long run.

Another critical aspect of sleep is its impact on our immune function. Studies have proven that a sleep deprived individual is more likely to suffer from cold or other illnesses. This can severely impact one’s productivity levels and also put one at the risk of heart diseases and diabetes.

As per health and sleep experts, there isn’t any substitute to sleep and getting enough rest is indeed a good way to boost your academic performance and job performance.

How much & when to sleep to be more productive?

Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep everyday. Teenagers on the other hand need little more, say 8-10 hours. Getting good quality sleep is equally important and is not something one can compromise on.

Research shows that people who consistently get poor quality sleep at night don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as compared to people who get close to seven hours of good quality sleep a night.

Introduction of healthy sleep habits for proper sleep hygiene is a good way to boost productivity and performance. Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday is the best way to set your body clock right and get better sleep.

Here are few more tips to improve your sleep for better productivity:

  1. Get More Vitamin D.
  2. Exercise everyday and ideally during the first half of the day.
  3. Cut back on caffeine and nicotine.
  4. Invest in a well designed mattress.

Being productive at home

A lot of us have been left to eat, sleep, work or study in the same environment for more time than we ever anticipated. This has severely impacted our sleep cycles, productivity and overall mental and physical well being a lot.

If you are also finding it challenging to be at your productive best, it might have a lot to do with your sleep schedule which the pandemic has messed up.

It is highly recommended to get back to following a routine to get back your focus.

A few things that can be truly helpful are as follows:

  1. Consistency is the key. Setting a daily alarm and having a schedule for the day really helps your body get a cue about when it is time to sleep and when it is not.
  2. Unclutter your environment. Clutter can be a major distraction and a source of demotivation. Your sleep, work or study space needs to be clean and well-organized for you to sleep better and perform better.
  3. Limit the use of your phone and other electronic devices. Our screen time affects us more than we realize and recent researches have concluded that our phones make us feel more tired and less productive.

Quick Hacks

We are in the era of working from home culture and achieving our academic goals by studying online at home. This calls for a smart revamp of our existing home space to fit our new lifestyle without compromising on sleep and productivity.

Talking about work from home essentials, having a dedicated work or study space is a must. If one has to for some reason work from bed, make sure a good quality mattress and pillow with orthopedic back and spine support is used. Switching to an orthopedic mattress along with an orthopedic pillow can instantly help one maintain proper posture and also get a good night’s sleep.

Otherwise, there are plenty of space-saving and multi-utility work desks and study tables available. Foldable, compact and easy on the pocket, such furniture options make for a smart way to build a dedicated work or study space in any corner of the house.


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