I’m currently reading Brain Rules. Rule 7 is “sleep well, think well.” Sleep deprivation costs US businesses more than $100 billion a year. That’s no chump change.
Loss of sleep hurts attention, execution function, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning, and even motor dexterity.
What if we change the way we work. Rather than the typical 9-to-5 model, what if we allowed employees to work when they are most effective. The night owls can stay late at night and the early risers can come in early. Would it be possible to gain productivty, create a better quality of life for employees, and reduce the sleep deficit. This way, night owls don’t have to wake up early to get to work and early risers don’t have to stay late to punch the clock.
If we replace the sleep deprivation with optimal sleep, employees may actually increase their productivity. Work may be higher quality, innovation may increase, errors will be reduced, and customer service may be better.
On a personal note, I’ve been struggling with sleep problems for the past few months. At the bottom of my problems, the lack of quality sleep made me moody, created memory loss, slowed my thinking, and drained my motivation. I had to work twice as hard just to accomplish tasks I could previously do. After a sleep study, some medical treatment, I’m slowly getting back to 100%. Sleep deprivation is a debt we owe. You can’t simply take a pill or buy a new bed and expect to recover instantly. For me, I’ve found that the changes are helping but it’s taking weeks to recover from months and years of deprivation.