A new book, The Business of Sleep: How Sleeping Better Can Transform Your Career (Bloomsbury, March 8), argues that that the personal and business case for getting more sleep has never been more serious and that getting the right amount of sleep could save the United Kingdom up to £36 billion per year.

Author Vicki Culpin, PhD, of Ashridge Executive Education, says tackling sleep deprivation is key to improving productivity, employee wellbeing, and effectiveness and calls on organizations to make it a priority.

In the book she describes how never before have significant percentages of working adults been so sleep deprived. Nearly half of the UK and US adult populations are not getting enough sleep, which is having a staggering impact on organizational life.

Culpin cites the following impacts of sleep deprivation:

  • Memory – Getting more sleep aids memory performance. Memory is not just critical for organizational success (turning up late to meetings, failing to recall critical sales figures, or missing a deadline) but is fundamental to an individual’s core identity.
  • Decision-making – Even a single night of total sleep deprivation can have dramatic effects on decision making. People are more likely to be side-lined by irrelevant trivia, lose track of what has been said, and become more distrustful.
  • Creativity – Tired minds generate tired ideas. Both quantity and quality of sleep are important for all aspects of the creative process.
  • Health – Small changes in sleep duration or sleep efficiency, over just a few nights, can lead to health related changes such as increased blood pressure, appetite regulation imbalances, and susceptibility to infection.
  • Mood – Negative mood is one of the most frequently cited effects of both short term and chronic sleep problems. In recent research conducted by Culpin, the most frequently reported effect of lack of sleep was “feeling irritable,” followed by “feeling more stressed,” and wanting to be “left alone.”

Culpin says in a release, “Managers and HR professionals must take note. At a time when leaders and employees are operating in rapidly changing environments with no ‘blueprint’ of how to do things, this issue needs to be taken seriously.”

Image credit: The Business of Sleep: How Sleeping Better Can Transform Your Career by Vicki Culpin. (Bloomsbury, £16.99)