Things are not looking too good for night-owls.
First off, we need at least 7 hours of sleep to stay healthy, according to experts. Secondly, any interruptions in our sleep, let alone a lack of it, can be harmful to one’s health. And now experts reveal that just a single night without sleep can trigger very uncharacteristic, unpleasant behaviors in a person and what suffers the most from this is his work.
Details Of The Study
A study published by the Rotterdam School of Management claims that sleep-related disruption can result in businesses making billions of losses.1
A researcher sent out text messages over 10 consecutive working days to a selected group of professionals, asking them to report how well they had slept and rate their activity at work (such as taking longer lunch breaks or being rude to a fellow colleague).
It was found that even one bad night of sleep can cause people to behave in a way that’s completely unlike them. Furthermore, unwanted workplace behavior is not a fixed trait and can vary from day to day within the same person. For instance, people who had engaged in unwanted/unprofessional behavior one day while being on the job were more likely to repeat this behavior the next day, particularly if they slept badly during the night connecting those two days.
It was also discovered that some people responded worse to a lack of sleep than others did. The negative impact of sleep loss was particularly common in those with “low moral identity” – a psychological measure for how important moral traits such as “kindness” or ‘fairness’ are for a person’s self-image, and how important it is for a person to be perceived as a good and moral person by others. Those who attached less value to these moral traits were also more likely to repeat their misbehavior the next day after a night of poor sleep quality.2
What Does This Mean?
Based on the findings, the study concludes that even one night of disturbed sleep can result in the following:
1. A Decreased Inability To Control One’s Moods And Impulses
Most of us experience fluctuating moods throughout the day but are usually able to control our emotions so as to not let it affect our behavior towards others. A lack of sleep can lead to an overpowering sense of fatigue, which in turn, can make workers be less in control of their moods and impulses. This makes it difficult for them to rein in negative behavior like outbursts of temper and aggressive arguments that can easily offend others. Such behaviors can have a damaging impact on the overall work atmosphere and reduce business productivity in the long run.
2. A Decreased Inability To Make Sound, Moral Judgements
Previous studies have proved that a lack of sleep can negatively impact our decision-making ability especially when under pressure – a potentially disastrous failing for a worker who has been placed in a position of responsibility.3 Important decisions that are made wrongly when under pressure can have damaging, long-lasting consequences not just for the business but also for the career of the worker who made those decisions.
3. A Decreased Inability To Overcome Failure
Tiredness can often make it harder for people to overcome the feeling they have failed. Furthermore, it can also make it harder for them to motivate themselves to pick themselves up and improve the next day. This gives rise to a destructive cycle that could also explain why unethical behavior is so persistent in today’s organizations.
With workplace stress taking over everyone’s lives today, it is important for both employers and employees to pause for a moment and consider the importance of a good night’s sleep.
It appears that the popularity of so-called “wellness” perks from premium gym memberships to medical insurances to free healthy snacks, sleep is something that is so often overlooked by employers, despite knowing the potentially serious impact of staff not achieving adequate rest.
Therefore, it is just as important for employers to consider the vicious impact that sleep deprivation has on their business, as it is for employees to consider how sleep deprivation can damage not just their health but also their career at large.
|↑1, ↑2||Why a bad night’s sleep makes some people misbehave at work. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.|
|↑3||Alhola, Paula, and Päivi Polo-Kantola. “Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 3, no. 5 (2007): 553.|