Productivity and Sleep

How does sleep affect productivity?When the demands on your time increase it is very tempting to make more time in your day by sacrificing sleep.

But this is the biggest mistake you can make!

The Myth

Our technologically advanced society has pushed the idea that sleep is a waste of valuable time.

Notable historical figures such as Thomas Edison have led us to believe that all we need to do is fight through the urge to sleep and become more productive. History is full of leaders and wise people who equated sleeping with laziness.

With the invention of the electric light, we’ve been able to push back the darkness and work “productively” through the night.

The Research

But are we truly more productive?

The research that has been performed in the sleep arena in the past 6 decade clearly tells us otherwise.

Having sleep apnea has forced me to learn more about sleep and the effects that it can have on your life. And the more I learn the more impressed I am with how critical a part it plays in a productive and happy life.

Researchers find that the need for sleep is not just a way to conserve energy or stay safe from predators during the dark hours of the night. Rather, sleep is a biological necessity. Without the proper amount of sleep our mental and physical health begins to decay.

A Failed Experiment

Stanely Coren, a researcher in neuropsychology, tells his own personal experience with the effects of trying to be more productive by cutting out sleep in his book Sleep Thieves. He actually kept a journal of his attempts to get an extra 2 or 3 hours of time every day by sleeping 1/2 hour less each week or two.

By the time that he got down to 6 hours a night he finally had to give it up. He was spending the extra time vegging in front of the television. His performance at work had dramatically declined. He also became much less pleasant for his co-workers to be around — his sense of humour was gone.

Basically, in an effort to become more productive by getting an extra 2 hours of time, he became less productive, less social and less alive.

And thankfully he wasn’t doing anything that involved dangerous equipment or materials considering the mistakes he discovered in the work he had done.

Get Your Sleep!

The fact is that we only have 24 hours every day. And almost all of us need to have at least 8 (9 is probably a better amount) of that for sleep. There are some people who get by with less, but you’re not likely one of them.

If we don’t get the sleep we need, we’ll be less productive in the hours that we are awake. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it.

You’ll need to cut some things out of your schedule to make time for what is most important to you. But cutting sleep isn’t the right choice.

When you’re scheduling your day, make sure that you get the sleep you need so that you can be truly awake when you need to be.

Share Your Story

So, how about you? Have you had any experience with the effects of less than adequate sleep? Leave a comment to tell us what happened. Or share tips on how you make sure that you get enough sleep.

Then you can pop on over to We Are All Of Us Nuts! where I share more of my thoughts on the importance of sleep.


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