What happens to your work performance when you don’t catch enough Zs? An average one out of five employees in the U.S. doesn’t get more than five hours a sleep per night. While many people don’t consider how a lack of sleep affects their work, it has a greater impact on your occupation than you may believe. These are the many negative ways that sleep deprivation affects your mental and physical performance at work.
Your emotional health will plummet
Anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression are all linked to not getting enough shuteye. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is essential to emotional regulation, and without a healthy eight hours, you’ll begin to feel the mental effects almost immediately. You may feel uber-anxious at work, fret over small inconveniences, and worry about every task you perform. You might feel as if though you are in danger or as if your skin is crawling. You may even experience thoughts of depression, such as feeling as if though your work is pointless or as if it’s hopeless to attempt to get all of your work done.
Additionally, anger and irritability are likely to creep into your workspace. A downswing in your mood paired with a lack of sleep may cause you to feel extremely hypersensitive and rageful. Coworkers may make you feel infuriated without reason. You may feel irritation with their performance at work or get frustrated when they get in the way of your completion of a task. Everyday nuisances may set you off more than usual. You might feel short-tempered and lack patience with your fellow employees. In order to keep your mood stable and regulate your emotions effectively, a healthy amount of sleep is necessary. It will contribute to both improved work performance and healthier interpersonal relationships with your colleagues.
You’ll struggle to focus and succeed
A lack of sleep makes it extremely difficult to focus, learn, and perform at an optimal level. You’ll likely find yourself feeling distracted and disoriented no matter how hard you attempt to focus. This is due to your brain attempting to keep you from falling back asleep by tethering itself to numerous tasks surrounding you. However, you likely won’t be able to complete any tasks you start due to an inability to stay focused.
Additionally, you may struggle to problem solve, act creatively, or form solutions to issues in your workplace. Sleep is essential to cognitive functioning. When you’re running on empty, your performance will suffer. An adequate amount of rest is also necessary for memory retrieval and the formation of new memories. Sleep deprivation will make it difficult to recall important information about your work or retain vital information about tasks in the present and future. In order to think clearly, produce solid work, and deal with obstacles that emerge, a good night’s rest is essential.
Your physical health will suffer
In addition to your mental health suffering, a lack of sleep can also result in severe physical detriment. From migraines to common colds, you can become extremely susceptible to illness, disease, and physical pain when you skip out on sleep. Even after a single night of sleep deprivation, your immune system begins to suffer. You’ll likely experience a lack of immunity to diseases. This can result in you developing illnesses and pain which may have been avoidable with a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re forced to take a sick day or suffer through a long workday while ill, both situations can prevent you from completing your work to the fullest.
Over time, multiple nights of sleep deprivation can take a toll on your heart, brain, and stomach. A lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to heart disease, migraines, and extreme hunger or appetite throughout the day. Over time, these can contribute to chronic illness, weight gain, depression, and aggression, all impacting your work performance. If you’ve already missed out on a single night of good sleep, powering through a sleep-deprived day can be exhausting. With a bit of sunlight, caffeine, and exercise, you’ll likely be able to make it through. However, getting enough sleep regularly is necessary to maintain mental and physical wellness, both in the short and long term.