Prepare yourself, I am about to have a rant!
Over the years I have come across business mentors, articles, posts on social media etc. all extolling the virtues of getting up at the crack of dawn and working a ridiculous amount of hours to guarantee success. The results I have seen were utter carnage! Why don’t these people stop and think? I’m the first to admit I’m not a morning person, but I am a person who possesses common sense; to function well we all need sleep, and plenty of it!
I was inspired to write this post when reading Carol Roth’s insightful article in The Entrepeneur this week. In it, highly successful people like Paul Koger, Owner of FoxyTrades, are quoted on their views on sleep and productivity, “Many successful people have been promoting lack of sleep, getting up early and working crazy hours, while it is actually more important to recognize what works for you and optimise workflow accordingly.” He’s right.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Productivity
I could draw on my BSc in Anatomy and Human Biology here and bore you with facts and figures illustrating the physical and physiological effects of continuous sleep deprivation, but I think you know the deal. I have watched struggling business owners under the mesmerising spell of business mentors who have convinced them to work a hundred hours a week, getting up at 5am in order to grow their business. The results?
- Poor decision making
- Lack of sound judgement
- Bad temper and its inevitable consequences
- Deterioration of mental and physical health
More Sleep = More Productivity
You know yourself, after a good night’s sleep you are on top of the world. You can meet whatever your day throws at you with a clear mind, sagacity, sound rationale and good humour. Body and mind function well and you are productive. You’ll achieve significantly better results in a shorter period of time if your mental health is in good shape.
I could cite so many studies at this point, I don’t think I need to, we all know sleep is important, but for those who like stats, Burton, Chen, Schultz, Alyssa and Yi’s study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine last month sums it up nicely, the ‘Association between employee sleep with workplace health and economic outcomes’. Their findings:
“A strong U-shaped relationship between health care costs, short-term disability, absenteeism, and presenteeism (on-the-job work loss) and the hours of sleep was found among employees. The nadir of the “U” occurs for 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night.”
At the risk of sounding clichéd, work and money are not the be all and end all, they just aren’t. If you are mentally and physically unable to enjoy the money you have made, what was the point?
In the words of Harold Kushner,
“No-one ever said on their death-bed, I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”