Sleep And Productivity: Less Sleep Harms Work Performance
Time Tracking & Productivity

Sleep And Productivity: Less Sleep Harms Work Performance

Irene Kalesi
Irene Kalesi

Sleep. Nap. Rest. Let Morpheus take you away. However you want to call it, human beings must have it to be functional. Sleep and productivity go hand in hand, and it’s not a matter of choice. Lack of sleep can be damaging healthwise and professionally. People need to get enough sleep to achieve the desired work performance. Especially in today’s frenetic everyday rhythms, the proper shut-eye time is so precious like sand, you can hold it, but it slips through your hand in a flash. 

Unfortunately, many people have forgotten what a good night’s sleep is, and they try to make ends meet with the few hours they can get. However, not only insomnia affects sleeping rates. Long working hours, sudden business calls, negative behaviors at work by employers/colleagues, and demanding workloads are important factors causing sleeplessness. 

On a more personal level, people may be losing sleep due to a night out, a late dinner, series binge-watching, or even the use of mobile devices in bed. The last reasons may not seem that important, but you’d be wrong. Simple-looking negative habits can solidify an unhealthy sleeping cycle.

Sleep is so valuable that even the loss of 16 minutes of sleep can significantly influence your day’s course, according to the study conducted jointly by the universities of South Florida and Pennsylvania. But how does sleep deprivation undermine your defenses? And what kind of repercussions does that have on your work performance? Of course, a person can see some obvious effects, but long term and more serious ones can appear. 

So, let’s dive into the negative ways that the lack of sleep can manifest itself and affect your work.  Plus, learn some information about bad sleeping habits and new things you should already be doing.

Sleep goes down; stress goes up

The relation between sleep and work stress is quite particular since they create a vicious cycle. Stressful people can’t get enough sleep because anxiety can cause insomnia. On the other side, people that don’t get enough sleep for various reasons showcase higher levels of stress. 

Naturally, in today’s workplaces, employees are responsible for a variety of tasks, each of them demanding attentiveness and resourcefulness. Lack of sleep and stress form a negative combination. Stress makes people want to do things faster and better, but the absence of a good night’s sleep makes them sluggish and even more anxious due to their underperformance. Add to the mix, a strict employer, the communication overload, or an unexpected difficulty at work, and there you have a recipe for disaster.

When memory fades…

Over the years, scientists have been pointing out how sleep affects your long-term memory positively. According to, the consolidation of all the new information acquired throughout the day happens during deep sleep. So, for people who do not sleep, their long-term memory won’t be as strong as if they had a normal sleeping routine. Subsequently, the lack of sleep can reduce the ability to recall memories. This means that employees may not be on top of their game and fail to contribute enough.

The physical danger

When you’re losing sleep, not only your mental health is at risk. Your body also suffers the consequences of insomnia. It may be a decrease in the coordination of movements, in reflexes or body strength. As published, the American Psychological Association (APA) announced that sleep-deprived people in their teens and twenties are ideal candidates to cause fall-asleep accidents every year. In the workplace, if a position includes physical activity, sleepless employees may be slower, prone to cause accidents, and leave tasks unfinished or poorly executed. So, getting the right amount of sleep is not about success or work performance. It’s about health and everyone’s safety. 

The swing of moods

Even for a night, if you haven’t slept well, you must remember the grumpiness and feeling of irritation the next morning. This is a direct consequence of the loss of sleep. Keep in mind that continuous sleeplessness increases the volume of the effects, brings along more symptoms like anger, frustration, and even illogical thinking.

According to the Sleep for Health Foundation’s study, long-term insomnia can lead to depression and vice versa. Our mood is really important to our mental and physical health. So insomnia can be the main cause of mood changes or just the symptom of something else going wrong. All these fluctuations can be problematic at work since they can create communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, and set up a toxic environment.

(-Sleep)+ work= loss of focus

Maybe the worst effect of sleeplessness on work performance is the difficulty to focus. Notably, when you have a day full of meetings and big decisions, the inability to concentrate properly can be highly problematic. The National Sleep Foundation concluded that lack of sleep can lower or even diminish creativity, innovation as well as the skill of problem-solving.

Tips to improve your quality of sleep

Of course, this article could not end without some advice on how to improve your sleeping routine. Sometimes the small things are the ones that matter. For example, your environment should be ready to help you sleep. Check the temperature, noise levels, and lighting so that the conditions are as ideal as possible for you to relax and sleep. You can also prepare your body to go to sleep by having a warm bath, drinking warm chocolate, or eating a light snack (if hungry). A very important part of your sleep routine should also be to stay away from any kind of electronic device that can lead to higher awareness. Instead, dive into a book, pick up knitting, or just listen to relaxing music.

To sum up, sleep and productivity are two parts of the same scale. When things on both sides are balanced, everything works like clockwork. However, work concerns, distractions, and personal issues can shut the door on sleep. Just remember that your sleepless self is not smarter, polite, or better at dealing with life. Then, if you don’t have chronic sleeping issues, follow the tips above. If they actually help and you feel like taking a deep long sleep, don’t hesitate. Go for it!