Sleep and the Workplace


Does lack of sleep affect your work?

Did you know that if you sleep for 4 hours a night for 6 nights on the seventh day you be functioning as though you have had no sleep for 24 hours?

If you sleep for six hours for 10 consecutive nights on the eleventh day you will also be functioning as though you have had no sleep for 24 hours.

Your brain will feel ‘foggy’, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, and the likelihood of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road increases. 

The restorative power of sleep

The restorative power of sleep is a precious gift from nature which we ignore at our peril. It is the time when the body repairs itself at the cellular level and processes information which has been taken in during the day. Poor sleep produces a mass of psychological and physical adverse conditions including feeling emotional, poor concentration, headaches and an upset stomach.

The positive impact of regular amounts of good sleep will result in increased productivity, less absenteeism and sick days, and greater job satisfaction and loyalty.

There is nothing heroic about ‘pulling an all nighter’.

Certain industries seem to thrive on the misplaced macho idea of getting by with little sleep, and the change has to come from the top. Employers have to understand that encouraging shorter more productive work is better than longer less efficient work.

They also have to be sensitive to requests for flexible working - it is far better to have eight hours of highly productive work than twelve hours of mediocre output. Sleep deprived workers don’t perform optimally and are usually unaware that they are taking inappropriate risks. They can find it harder to regulate their emotions and they run the risk of behaving inappropriately.

Employees have to take responsibility too.

Those emails sent at 11.30pm, with everyone copied in are so often seen as the work of the industrious. In Scandinavia it is seen as the output of the incompetent. If you can’t get everything done in the normal working day you obviously cannot cope.

One way of helping employers take action to look after employees who are stressed and not getting good sleep is to get in place a corporate programme of teaching employees to meditate. Taking time every day to recalibrate and refresh will release long held fatigue and stress and allow people to re-engage in the workplace feeling alert, productive and healthy.

You can read more about how Vedic Meditation can supplement sleep in my post Meditation vs Sleep and read more about how Vedic Meditation helps you sleep and why it’s important.

Thinking that meditation could help your workplace? Come along to one of our free introductory talks in London or get in touch and find out how we can help.

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Anthony Thompson