People often brag about how little sleep they get. "My time is so valuable," the logic goes, "that I must spend every possible hour alert so that I might maximize it." It isn't uncommon to hear busy executives boasting of getting fewer than five hours of rest nightly, the implicit assumption being that getting any more would be an impossible imposition into an overburdened schedule.
According to research, this pride is misguided.
Mathematical models based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that anywhere between 15 and 33 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. A 2008 poll quoted in the NY Times found that 29 percent of workers have either fallen asleep or come close at work. Harvard's Women Health watch reports that irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate and moodiness are also symptoms of fatigue.
These sorts of issues will definitely impact the bottom line for your business. The Times article details the myriad ways in which tiredness among employees can curtail your profitability.
"One study has shown that 'cyberloafing'—wasting time on the web—increases on the day after the start of daylight saving time, when people are short an hour of sleep. Other research shows how cognitive performance deteriorates when sleep is inadequate: We have less capacity to remember, to learn or to be creative, and we become less optimistic and less sociable," writes author Sendhil Mullainathan.
These studies shows that when it comes to sleep disorders, Stress can be both a cause and a direct result of a lack of proper sleep. Employee health and wellness programs would do well to address these critical issues as part of their self care, stress and resiliency programming before organizations find themselves paying for it in increased healthcare costs and decreased performance and engagement.