Employees are paying a high price for too little sleep when it comes to work productivity, according to new statistics from the Better Sleep Council (BSC). Respondents to the BSC’s 2007 Better Sleep Month survey, conducted for Better Sleep Month this May, reported an alarming decline in quality of work, poor judgment and trouble retaining information as the top work-related consequences from lack of sleep. In fact, 44% said they were likely to be in an unpleasant or unfriendly mood — all bad news for employers, employees and customers.    

"Some believe you can accomplish more if you spend less time sleeping, but limited sleep can affect every aspect of your life, including job performance," said Dr. Bert Jacobson, Better Sleep Month spokesperson. "In fact, sleep deprivation impacts your level of alertness, your productivity and your ability to socially interact with colleagues."

Sleep to Succeed    

Studies estimate that sleep deprivation currently costs U.S. businesses nearly $150 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity. And Better Sleep Month survey respondents reported sleep deprivation impaired their quality and accuracy of work (31%), clear thinking or judgment (31%) and memory of important details (30%).    

"Our survey indicates that companies would be more productive and offices would be happier places if employees got more of the sleep they need," said Nancy Shark, executive director of the Better Sleep Council. "Anyone looking to improve their daily work performance could benefit by improving the quality of their sleep."    

Survey results also showed that tired employees are turning instead to quick-fix performance enhancers to remedy their sleep deficiency problem, including drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks (33%), taking a nap (17%), and going outside for fresh air (18%).

Only 13% of Americans are willing to make the commitment to get more sleep in order to feel more awake and productive at work.