Lack of Sleep – How it Affects Your Job

We live in a time period where we are sleeping less and less. Part of the reason is technology that provides 24/7 stimulation, such as the internet, smartphones, and gaming devices. When I was young, the TV station signed off at midnight with the National Anthem and then went to white noise until 6 am. You could always read a book if you were having trouble sleeping, but that was about the only option.

Another reason for the lack of sleep is stress. Many people have more and more piled on them at work, causing longer days and shorter nights.  Also, depression and anxiety are on the rise which are known to cause problems with sleep. Other reasons for a lack of sleep are restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, and many other health related issues.

With the increased use of caffeine and all of the other factors, it’s no wonder we aren’t getting enough sleep. Some people can handle less sleep and still function, but most people need at least 7 hours to manage their daily routine. 

The problem is that most people get less than 7 hours and some as little as 4 hours. About one in five individuals don’t get enough sleep, which brings up the issue of their job performance. In this article by Charlie Kim, the founder and CEO of Next Jump, titled “Sleep Is A Company’s Problem:” he has found that people in a leadership role are the most likely to struggle getting enough sleep.

Lack of Sleep

From a company perspective, we found that seven-eight hours of sleep is the realistic “safe zone.” However, many enter the danger zone (too little sleep) of five-six hours on a routine basis. Is this the person you would want doing important work in your company? Even worse, is this the leader you would want making decisions that impact the lives of so many others? 

Being a technology company, we are data-oriented. We built a fitness portal where every employee tracks their workouts. We average over three workouts per person per week and what started with practically nobody using the gym is now nearly a hundred percent. In the same portal, we asked a simple question: “How many hours of sleep did you get last night?”. We found that the company average was 6.3 hours of sleep per night. We also found that employees over 30 years old slept nearly one hour less than the younger employees. Even more troubling, was that the leadership team had the most erratic sleep patterns.

We found that most people struggle to either fall asleep or stay asleep in the middle of the night. For all of the parents reading this, have you ever noticed how much easier it was to fall asleep and stay asleep before you had kids? You probably didn’t notice how much easier you slept before you became a leader, responsible for the lives of others. We found there is a strong correlation between the crucibles of parenting and leadership. In both cases, you are now responsible for more than yourself. The lives of others depend on you causing your mind to race in the middle of the night thinking of your responsibilities. 

Peter Chica, Next Jump’s Head of Wellness explains: “As we explored the areas of human health, we found insomnia to be a problem, especially for our leadership team. I feel responsible that people can’t sleep, but you can’t just prescribe Advil PM or Melatonin. It’s a different mindset than exercise and nutrition. Sleep is the most important in the triad of health. If you don’t sleep, you can’t exercise. If you don’t sleep, you get a false sense of hunger, using extra calories to wake up. Companies invest in exercise and nutrition programs; it just makes sense to invest in sleep as well.” 

Safe zone of sleep: seven-eight hours. Danger zone: five -six hours. We needed to close the gap of two hours of sleep. That was the problem quantified.

OUR SOLUTION:

Sleep Class

5 days a week;

2:30-3:00pm local time in New York, Boston, San Francisco and London;

Prompt start and end. (It doesn’t end at 3:05. It ends exactly at 3:00. And no one is allowed in at 2:31);

Every office, always there (consistency);

You walk in, lie on a matt and are given only two rules:

(1) Don’t move;

(2) Don’t fall asleep;

The class is called Yoga Nidra (yoga sleep), which is a combination of Yoga meets Meditation. An instructor, in a calming voice is using a distraction method to have you think of sunsets, sunrises, a red ball, green grass, and any thousands of images that are distracting. It’s not that different from how you get a child having a tantrum to stop by asking them a question “what color was the ball? where did it come from?”

Every instructor claimed that one hour of Yoga Nidra = four hours of sleep. It is keeping you in a theta state of sleep, that dream-like state right before you fall asleep, for the entire period. As our NY office instructor Anne Koller describes, “Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation that sinks the brain into a state of consciousness called theta. The theta rhythm plays a large role in REM sleep, which is our most restful stage of sleeping.”

Read more about this article here:  http://ift.tt/1S3gYGf

Ms Huffington says many of us are in a state of “perpetual exhaustion”, the result of a “cultural delusion” that the more exhausted and burned out employees are, the more productive they are.

“I had dinner with a guy recently who bragged that he had only gotten four hours sleep the night before. I didn’t say it, but I thought: ‘This dinner would have been a lot more interesting if you had gotten five’,” she told NPR in an interview to promote her new book The Sleep Revolution.

“We hear employees being congratulated for working 24/7, which now we know is the cognitive equivalent of coming to work drunk. But it’s changing.

“We are now in this amazing transition period where more and more companies are beginning to realise that living like that and working like that has actually terrible consequences — not just on the health and productivity of their employees but also on their bottom line,” she said.

The head of the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, Professor David Hillman, says introducing a program like Aetna’s in our workplaces could help the one in four Australians who regularly have a bad night’s sleep.

Ms. Huffington says many of us are in a state of “perpetual exhaustion”, the result of a “cultural delusion” that the more exhausted and burned out employees are, the more productive they are.

“I had dinner with a guy recently who bragged that he had only gotten four hours sleep the night before. I didn’t say it, but I thought: ‘This dinner would have been a lot more interesting if you had gotten five’,” she told NPR in an interview to promote her new book The Sleep Revolution.

“We hear employees being congratulated for working 24/7, which now we know is the cognitive equivalent of coming to work drunk. But it’s changing.

“We are now in this amazing transition period where more and more companies are beginning to realise that living like that and working like that has actually terrible consequences — not just on the health and productivity of their employees but also on their bottom line,” she said.

The head of the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, Professor David Hillman, says introducing a program like Aetna’s in our workplaces could help the one in four Australians who regularly have a bad night’s sleep.

Read more here: Sleep Is a Company’s Problem

Another company concerned about their employees sleeping habits are taking a different approach. Aetna Insurance Company’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, decided to try rewarding his people who sleep at least 7 hours for at least 20 nights in a row with a cash bonus. He feels that productivity and the amount of sleep his employees are getting are directly related.

Mark Bertolini is the head of Aetna, a US health insurance company, which recently introduced a program that pays employees who regularly get seven or more hours of sleep a night.

“If they can prove they get 20 nights of sleep for seven hours or more in a row, we will give them $US25 [$33] a night, up to $US500 [$661] a year,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box program.

Aetna uses Fitbit fitness trackers to monitor the sleep of employees who use the program, and the data is analysed by a third party.

Mr. Bertolini believes there is a direct link between sleep, employee productivity and increased company profits.

He claims his employees improved their productivity by 69 extra minutes per month, as a result of the company investing in wellness and mindfulness. “If we can make … business fundamentals better by investing in our people, then that’s going to show up in our revenue,” he said.

“It’s going to show up in our bottom line and [Wall] Street’s confidence that we can do it quarter, after quarter, after quarter; year after year.”

The founder of news website The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, is a big believer in the importance of sleep and taking care of yourself.

She experienced her own wake-up call in 2007 when she collapsed from sleep deprivation and broke her cheek bone. Since then, she’s written two books on the importance of sleep and mindfulness, especially when it comes to our effectiveness at work.

Ms. Huffington says many of us are in a state of “perpetual exhaustion”, the result of a “cultural delusion” that the more exhausted and burned out employees are, the more productive they are.

“I had dinner with a guy recently who bragged that he had only gotten four hours sleep the night before. I didn’t say it, but I thought: ‘This dinner would have been a lot more interesting if you had gotten five’,” she told NPR in an interview to promote her new book The Sleep Revolution.

“We hear employees being congratulated for working 24/7, which now we know is the cognitive equivalent of coming to work drunk. But it’s changing.

“We are now in this amazing transition period where more and more companies are beginning to realise that living like that and working like that has actually terrible consequences — not just on the health and productivity of their employees but also on their bottom line,” she said.

The head of the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, Professor David Hillman, says introducing a program like Aetna’s in our workplaces could help the one in four Australians who regularly have a bad night’s sleep.

Read more here: Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini rewards employees who sleep for seven hours or more

Woman Sleeping

If you don’t want your employees coming to work drunk, then you shouldn’t want them to be sleep deprived either. The best thing you can do is encourage your team to find some type of coping mechanism that will allow them to turn their brain off and get some sleep.

Here are some facts about sleep you might not know:

• When you sleep, you recharge your brain, your cells repair themselves, and your body releases important hormones.
• You would die from sleep deprivation before you would starve to death. You can live 14 days without food but only 10 without sleep.
• Babies need 16 hours of sleep, 3-18 year olds need around 10 hours, 19-55 year olds need 8 hours, and over 65 need only 6 hours.
• Dreaming is normal and healthy. We can only dream about faces we have actually seen even if we don’t remember them. Also, 12% of people dream in only black and white, which has gone down due to the invention of color TVs.
• Within 5 minutes of waking up, 50% of a dream is forgotten and after 10 minutes, 90% of it is gone.
• Koala Bears are the longest sleeping animal at 22 hours per day and giraffes are the shortest sleeping animal at 1.9 hours per day, taken in 5 to 10 minute intervals.

 

 

The following blog post Lack of Sleep – How it Affects Your Job See more on: S&S Pro Service Blog

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