Travis Bradberry is the co-author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a provider of emotional intelligence tests and training. About a month ago, Travis published an eye-opening article on sleep and work function for Forbes. He confirmed what I’ve believed all along, which is that sleep is really important for high performers. Here are some of the reasons.
Sleepy People Are Dumber
Travis shared some data from the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, which said that the short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on your mood and ability to focus, problem-solve, and access higher-level brain functions. The negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep. Why is this? Travis cited a University of Rochester study, which found that when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons. When you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, impairing your ability to think and potentially derailing your career.
Sleepy People Miss Work
Travis remarked that sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. When it is sleep-deprived, your body overproduces cortisol, which wreaks havoc on the immune system. This causes you to get sick more frequently, and stay sicker longer. You’ll also experience a variety of aches and pains that may be enough to send you to the doctor or contagious symptoms that will force you out of the office. Either way, when you’re thinking about how terribly you feel physically, you’re not concentrating about work.
Sleepy People Are Dangerous
As we’ve suggested, sleep deprivation decreases mental accuracy. But for those who work in any kind of job in which reaction time is a factor, it’s also bad news. We see news stories all the time about pilots, manufacturing employees, etc., who get into serious accidents because they aren’t getting enough sleep. And if you commute, sleep deprivation could be enough to kill you. Falling asleep at the wheel is a major cause of driving-related fatalities.
Why else should you sleep now? Check out the rest of my reasoning on Intuit's Fast Track blog.