A good night’s kip can boost your productivity – and mean you earn more money. So how can you make sure you’re getting enough sleep?
Sleep has become a big deal in working life. Thanks to high-profile figures including Arianna Huffington, sleeping is no longer seen as a sign of weakness among competitive colleagues. Apple introduced a Night Shift feature on its devices earlier this year, as consumers recognised that stimuli such as your screen’s backlight can affect your sleep quality.
Research shows that more sleep can lead to us earning more money. A US studyhas found that in areas where the sun sets earlier, people sleep for longer – and this translates into higher earnings. In the long term, just one extra hour of sleep a week increases wages by 4.9%. So if you live in an area that gets darker earlier, you should be richer. But don’t move house just yet – the higher wages correspond almost exactly with inflated house prices. As Jeffrey Shrader, one of the authors of the study, puts it: “If you want to sleep more, there are better ways to do it than moving house – just buy better curtains.”
This goes against conventional economics. Each extra hour of sleep should take away from working time. So how can sleeping earn you money? The answer is productivity. “The biggest effects come through employees who work on commission,” says Shrader. “If you go to work well rested, you are livelier and happier, and can sell more to increase your earnings.”
Even small amounts of sleep deprivation can have large effects. Annother studyfound that sleeping six hours a night for two weeks produced the same results in cognitive tests as being totally sleep-deprived for up to two days straight. But a mid-afternoon kip can help. “Naps are great,” says sleep psychologist Dr Hans Van Dongen. If you struggle to get eight hours of sleep a night, a siesta can have a “reset” effect, and your productivity improves afterward. “Roughly speaking, an hour’s nap can make up for an hour in lost sleep at night.”
So – rather than simply a fleeting Silicon Valley trend – the introduction of nap pods at Google’s headquarters does have some science behind it. (Although once you start sleeping at work, what is the point in going home at all?) Even short naps of up to half an hour can partially offset the productivity loss stemming from chronic sleep deprivation. You snooze, you win.
But the most important workplace revolution would be much more flexible hours. Most of us fall into two broad “chronotype” categories: morning and evening types. Rigidly early start times at work are fine for larks, but a third of us are night owls, who can earn up to 5% less as a result of being tired at work.
Lack of sleep has already been shown to be worse for productivity than being overweight or underweight. So, why are you still reading this? You should go back to bed.
Source: The Guardian