Big sleep

7 ways that sleep impacts your productivity

Sleep affects us in all ways, including how productive we are. If we get too little sleep, we find it harder to concentrate and give our all at work or at home. Lisa Smalls lists seven ways that sleep affects us that we should all be aware of.

Why sleep is important

This subject has been researched in the form of innumerable studies, and yet more than one-third of Americans receive less than the seven hours of sleep per night recommended by the CDC. Our productivity on a daily basis is directly related to the amount of sleep we receive nightly. If you have a big presentation the next morning, the one thing you do not want to skimp on is sleep. It can be tempting, especially when nerves and the need to perfect the work hit. Because performance is tied to sleep, however, showing up sleep-deprived is a great way to make a multitude of mistakes.


Here are seven ways that sleep (or lack thereof) impacts productivity:

  1. Sluggish Responses

Getting too little sleep, or sleeping at the wrong time, can lead to an overall feeling of “sluggishness” that impacts our ability to think clearly and act with alacrity. This, in turn, can lower productivity, be it in our careers or our personal lives. It’s difficult to go above and beyond when you’re barely able to muster the ambition to make some coffee. It’s vital that we get plenty of sleep every night to help avoid this kind of negative impact on our health and our productivity.

    2. Short-Term Memory Issues

Your short-term, or ‘working’, memory has a significant impact on your productivity throughout the day. That’s because it’s responsible for quite a bit. In fact, your short term memory is responsible for retaining vocabulary, decision-making, reading comprehension, and problem-solving. Imagine that you were suddenly unable to access these abilities and, instead, struggled with even the “easiest” of them. As you can imagine, the impact this would have upon productivity is significant.

   3. Immune System Problems

Sleep for humans is like gas for a car. Without it, we set ourselves up for many unintended sick days. During sleep, our body recovers from stresses of the day. That includes giving your mind some much-needed rest to process the stimuli from the past day and work through things like stress. Without quality sleep, our bodies can’t recharge and recover. Our immune systems begin to break down and we find ourselves sick more often. This, in turn, leads to less productivity because we can’t go to work, school, or family functions.

   4. Drowsy Driving

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that drowsy driving is something that happens when a person who is driving is too tired to remain alert. Not only is this incredibly dangerous, but it can also impact productivity in various ways. The inability to reliably drive yourself to and from obligations, be they personal or professional, can cause a drop in performance. And if you’re caught driving drowsy or cause an accident, you might very well find yourself with a suspended license. If you’re injured in the process, you’re also looking at missing significant portions of your daily life. All of these issues negatively impact productivity.

   5. Burnout

Sleep deprivation costs American companies an average of $150 billion per year in lost productivity. With a lack of sleep, your ability to handle stress of any kind is slim, and that’s especially true for stress that stems from work. You will feel exhausted and be physically and mentally unable to do what is required of you, causing both you and your employer to suffer.

   6. Quick to Tire

Sleep can impact your energy levels in more ways than one. It’s generally accepted that quality sleep leads to more energy, but did you know that a lack of sleep causes you to tire more quickly than other people? Not only will your day be a struggle thanks to a lack of sleep, in other words, but you’ll also find that the little productivity you do have flees rather quickly.

   7. Financial Consequences

Finally, poor sleep can lead to poor work attendance. Mentioned briefly above, this issue can significantly impact your ability to pay the bills that need to be paid and keep your life on tract. Worries about finances can cause even more stress and leave you struggling to focus on the task at hand.

Sleep is vital to your productivity. If you’re hoping to perform well, make sure you get quality and uninterrupted sleep.


Lisa Smalls 

Lisa is a freelance writer from North Carolina that regularly covers sleep health topics for Mattress Advisor. She has become passionate about understanding what causes job burn out, how to increase productivity, and how keeping priorities balanced is what ultimately leads to success.



Feature image:  Kevin Phillips from Pixabay