How Poor Sleep is Affecting Your Work Performance & What to Do About It

Oct 14, 2022 | Blog, Sleep Tips

Whether you spend most of your workday seated or on your feet, odds are your performance is being impacted by the quality of your sleep. In the US alone, “insufficient sleep caused an estimated $150 billion in indirect costs due to the combined impact of absenteeism, presenteeism, and workplace accidents and injuries.”1 While work is not everything, it does comprise a large percentage of your life. It is vital to understand the role sleep plays in your performance, happiness, and overall well-being.

Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, but almost one-third of Americans get less than that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).2 As you can imagine, this level of sleep deprivation drastically affects your work performance. In fact, depending on your occupation, it can be deadly.

Maximize Your Performance: Sleep Tips for Every Type of Worker

The pandemic led to a noticeable shift from office to remote work. Although removing the stress of a daily commute is beneficial, it also has caused many remote workers to stay up later than ever.

On the other hand, workers in production-focused industries, such as factory or plant workers, report getting seven hours or less of sleep a night.3 Such lack of sleep can lead to more workplace accidents and even deadly crashes on the road for transportation workers.

Office workers face their own sleep hurdles. Sleep deprivation can lead to poorer focus, less creativity, and an average loss of 11 days of productivity a year.4

Utilize our tips below to mitigate the risks of poor sleep, no matter where you work:

1. Set Clear Boundaries

Keeping your working time separate from your leisure time will not only improve your quality of life but also help you set a consistent bedtime and stick to it. After finishing work, do a relaxing activity to signal your brain that it is time to wind down.

2. Get Outside

Getting exposure to natural light is vital to our circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycle.5 If getting outside while the sun is up is not plausible, consider setting up your workstation next to a window or other source of natural light.

3. Have a Designated Workstation

When your home and work combine, it is especially important to have a space specifically dedicated to working. Avoid working from your bed as this will cause you to associate your bed with activities other than sleeping.

4. Move Your Body

Getting up and moving your body, even just for 30 minutes a day, can do wonders for improving your sleep.6 It does not matter what type of activity you do so long as it gets you up and out of your chair.

5. Put Away Bright Devices

As tempting as it is to scroll through your phone late into the night, the light from your screen can hamper your sleep ability. This specific type of light – known as blue light – is beneficial during the day thanks to its attention and mood-boosting qualities. However, too much exposure can disrupt our circadian rhythms. If unable to bring yourself to put down the phone, consider purchasing blue-light-blocking eyewear or checking whether your device offers a blue-light filter to lessen harmful effects.

6. Cultivate a Nightly Routine

Having a nightly routine can make a big difference in sleep efficiency. Start by picking a bedtime and sticking to it. Consistency is key!

7. Limit Caffeine

The energy boost caffeine provides is often non-negotiable for shift workers. However, it is best to limit consumption to the beginning of your shift as well as no more than three to four hours ahead of bedtime.

8. Adjust Sleep Times for Shift Work

A few days before switching to a new shift, start by gradually adjusting your bedtime by a few hours. For example, if switching from day to night, start delaying your bedtime by a few hours each night leading up to your shift.

9. Block Out Distractions

Utilize blackout curtains and invest in a white noise machine or earplugs to block out any unwanted sounds. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable, cool temperature to encourage sleep.

10. Speak to Your Employer

Speak to your employer to see if they offer any sleep benefits, such as comprehensive sleep testing and sleep care. When it comes to your health, staying proactive is a must.

Per person, total healthcare spending is expected to grow from 11,000 in 2017 to 17,000 in 2027 and Americans expect to spend 40% of their retirement savings on healthcare.7,8 Talk to your employer today to see what they are doing to help you minimize the cost of poor sleep. Somnology offers a comprehensive perspective to sleep monitoring and care with the SLaaS® (Sleep Lab as a Service) platform, SomnoRing®, and mobile app. We have streamlined a typical sleep diagnosis experience by delivering the technology and medical insight of a sleep lab directly to users. To learn more about SLaaS® and the effects of sleep, read our blog or subscribe to our newsletter.