Best Practices in HR

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Michael Haberman
  April 20, 2018

Why it is important to your job to get enough sleep

As we just passed the weekend where daylight savings time came back I thought some facts about the importance of sleep on performance were in order. I have struggled the last couple of days, staying up later, mostly because my biological clock had not readjusted. I have written some similar posts in the past, see in particular Three Work Reasons to get a Good Night’s Sleep.


  • The average American adult, while spending 7.5 hours in bed only gets 6.1 hours of sleep. If you are anything like me, you toss and turn, you think about work or you get up and take the trip to the bathroom.
  • Lack of sleep causes performance problems.
    • Doctors with less than six hours of sleep between procedures produce twice the number of surgical complications.
    • Pilots nod off an average of 22 times in the last 30 minutes of a flight last four hours or more if they have not had a nap.
    • Medical interns working a 30-hour shift every third night make 36% more medical errors
  • Lack of sleep has a major effect on your health
    • Sleeping just 6 hours per night increases your risk of being overweight by 27%
    • Sleeping just 5 hours increases your risk of being overweight by a whopping 73%!
  • When you lack sleep you may as well have been drinking
    • Skipping 1.5 hours of sleep gives you a cognitive impairment equivalent to a blood-alcohol level of .05%.
    • Being awake 24 hours is the equivalent of a blood-alcohol level of .10%
    • Drowsy driving is responsible for 20% of vehicle crashes that result in a half million injuries and 8000 deaths.

These are some pretty sobering figures. Employees who work long hours, have to commute home, have to be involved with their families and then get in bed late are a hazard to others and a drain on your company productivity.

Naps help

I am a big believer in the value of naps. I have written about naps here and here. It is a well-documented fact that naps increase productivity and alertness. Here are some additional facts about naps:

  • A 20-minute nap taken 8 hours after you awake will boost your stamina more than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning
  • That 20-minute nap is more effective than 200 mg of caffeine
  • A nap three times a week lowers the chance of a heart-related death by 37%

Those are some pretty compelling numbers in favor of naps.

Try to do what you can to get readjusted. I for one decided to take the first Monday after daylight savings time return. It helped a lot.