Improve Your Job Performance: Get Some Sleep

By Paula Santonocito

TiredIf you find yourself yawning and unable to concentrate on tasks at work it may indeed be related to exhaustion.

Work and More Work

A 40-hour workweek? Forget about it.

The average person now spends 45 hours each week at the job, according to a recent Gallup survey. And that number doesn’t take into account additional job-related work people do from home, thanks largely to technology.

What’s more, it doesn’t consider the other kinds of work that are part of life’s routine.

One research study shows the average single woman spends 10 hours per week on housework.

Many single women also care for children and/or elderly parents, responsibilities that can be physically taxing.

So Tired

You’d think that it would all add up to a good night’s sleep—except, it doesn’t.

Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from sleep problems and disorders that are compounded by, you guessed it, work. Longer workdays that extend late into the night get in the way of a good night’s sleep.

Lack of sleep then causes people to feel sleepy at work, and even fall asleep on the job, according to a new study from the National Sleep Foundation. Among people surveyed, 29 percent report either falling asleep at work or becoming very sleepy at work within the past month.

Why No Shuteye

So, why aren’t people getting more sleep?

The short answer is that people are too busy. But it’s actually more complicated than this.

For one thing, work schedules impact sleep. Shift workers, for example, battle their natural body clocks as they toil at night and try to sleep by day. Today, an estimated 30 percent of shift workers are women.

Similarly, job jugglers, people who work more than one job, report dissatisfaction with their sleep. Today, job jugglers are divided evenly between men and women.

But it doesn’t matter if you work the day or night shift, one job or two: If you’re a woman, you are more likely to have sleep issues.

Biological conditions, like the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause all have the potential to impact sleep, says the National Sleep Foundation. Consequently, more women than men suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems than men.

Women’s sleep issues are so unique that the Foundation devotes a section of its website to Women and Sleep. Here you’ll find tips for improving sleep habits and the quality of your sleep.

On the Job

In addition to improving your physical and mental health, getting more sleep can improve your job performance.

For starters, you may actually show up for work on time. Twelve (12) percent of people responding to the National Sleep Foundation study say they were late for work in the past month because of sleepiness.

If you get more sleep, you’ll also be more alert and less prone to errors once you’re on the job.

And sleep doesn’t only affect the little details of your job. Getting more sleep can prevent dangerous or even deadly mistakes. The National Sleep Foundation finds that 26 percent of people have driven while drowsy during the workday.

The bottom line is that sleep deprivation is a prescription for disaster, both personally and professionally. Fortunately, a little known cure is available.

Want to know the secret? Shhh, go to sleep.

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