Losing just 16 minutes of sleep could be the difference between a clear-headed day at the office or one filled with distractions.
A new study published in Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation, finds shorting your sleep routine during the work-week greatly interferes with job performance. University of South Florida researchers found workers are more likely to have poor judgement and fall off-task the next day.
Lead author Soomi Lee, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Aging Studies, and her colleagues surveyed 130 healthy employees who work in Information Technology and have at least one school-aged child. Participants reported that when they slept 16 minutes less than usual and had worse quality sleep, they experienced more cognitive issues the next day. That raised their stress levels, especially regarding issues related to work-life balance, resulting in them going to bed earlier and waking up earlier due to fatigue.
“These cyclical associations reflect that employees’ sleep is vulnerable to daily cognitive stress and also a contributor to cognitively stressful experiences,” says Lee in a release. “Findings from this study provide empirical evidence for why workplaces need to make more efforts to promote their employees’ sleep. Good sleepers may be better performers at work due to greater ability to stay focused an on-task with fewer errors and interpersonal conflicts.”
Researchers also compared work-days to weekends. They conclude the consequences of less sleep is not as apparent when one has the next day off from work.