The Relationship Between Sleep and Productivity


The Relationship Between Sleep and Productivity

The relationship between sleep and productivity is no secret.

As Fitstop gym CMO Travis Telfer puts it, “Today’s productivity is based on last night’s sleep.” Yet despite that, over 40% of small business owners say that they forgo sleep at least four nights a week. 

Sleep or stay up late to work?

Most small business owners will choose work, but that could be hampering your progress in the long run. We’ve all missed out on sleep to try and reach a business goal, but after all that sleep deprivation we could actually be doing our business more harm than good. 

For the sake of your business, you need to make sure you get enough rest each night. Don’t believe it? Here’s how sleep deprivation can affect the productivity of both you and your employees. 

Your most valuable business skills decrease. 

More work and less sleep mean you’ll have less energy in general, react slower to situations and find it more difficult to solve problems and make decisions. It will take longer to finish basic tasks, and your creativity will be limited, making it hard for you to innovate with your business and move it forward. When you’re a small business owner, these aren’t skills that you want to diminish. 

In fact, not sleeping enough can often leave you in a negative feedback loop of working late, missing out on sleep, working less productively and therefore needing to work longer to complete a goal, and so sleeping less again. 

Sleep deprivation is similar to drunkenness. 

A UNSW study found that after 17 hours of being awake, a person’s work performance was the same as someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. After 20 hours of wakefulness, your productivity is the same as someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.1% – or enough to be convicted of drink driving. Now, do you really want to be making running your business in that state of mind? 

For proof of this blurred behaviour in action, a 2010 study found that employees with insufficient sleep spent three times longer on time management alone. When your job is delegating and overseeing, you don’t want to be running in slow motion. 

Sleeping patterns affect employee productivity. 

As a leader, your behaviour has a trickle-down effect in creating a company culture, so showing up to work well-rested and focused can, in turn, make your employees more productive. Want proof of this concept? 

study by The Guardian tracked sleeping patterns of supervisors across several weeks and compared it with employee feedback on their work performance.

On days the supervisors hadn’t had enough sleep, employees rated them as having worse self-control, being more abusive to others, and less charismatic overall. On these days, employees also were less engaged with their jobs as a result of their supervisor’s sleep deficiency – even if they themselves had a good rest. Lead by example and show up to work well-rested and fresh to encourage the same in your employees. 

Sleep will not only make you more focused, productive, and efficient but also helps to decrease stress levels that can come with being a small business owner.

Lack of sleep has been shown to make people up to 54% more stressed than their rested counterparts, making it one of the contributing factors between the all-too-common exhaustion that business owners can suffer. 

To keep your small business scalable, you need to be able to catch up with the workload without missing out on sleep. Failing to get your rest and digest can ultimately impair your business decision-making skills, affecting your productivity and leading to burnout.

It’s time to stop associating productivity with hourly input and look at it as an overarching factor that comes with general wellbeing and healthy work/life balance. 

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