Can you imagine the scenario of one of your work colleagues turning up drunk to the office on a Monday morning?
It may entertain a few people but it’s clearly incredibly unprofessional and I’m sure they would be disciplined, ridiculed and sent home pretty quickly.
Coming into work drunk is generally frowned upon in most industries, you might get away with it if you’re a rock and roll star, but back in the real world it’s generally a big no-no when it comes to official rules and regulations in the work place. Someone arriving drunk to work would expect to face disciplinary action, and many companies wouldn’t hesitate to dismiss their employee for gross misconduct.
But what if I told you that I believe you’ve probably turned up to the office in a similar state a number of times and that there’s a pretty good chance you may be in that state right now?
I’m not suggesting that you’re actually drunk but there is a very similar condition that I guarantee you have experienced at some point in your working life that has resulted in you being the equivalent of “the office drunk”.
The condition is sleep deprivation and it is affecting a huge amount of people every single day resulting in tired, exhausted, stressed out moody individuals that are completely incapable of performing in their working role.
Sleep deprivation and its effects
I get it, those deadlines at work won’t magically disappear and so we stay late, get up early and maybe even pull the odd all-nighter to just get things done, but what are the consequences of a limited or nonexistent night’s sleep?
Sleep is essential for the physical and mental recovery of an individual. A good night’s sleep will restore balance to your body, enable sufficient muscle recovery, memory consolidation, optimal hormone function and enable you to feel rejuvenated the next day. Unfortunately, in today’s world, sleep has become a luxury, rather than a necessity.
When the pressures of home life, work life and our social lives take over, sleep inevitably falls by the wayside. As a result sleep deprivation has a direct effect on our ability to concentrate, communicate and be effective in the workplace.
See if you recognise any of the tell-tale symptoms of a sleep deprived individual listed below, either in any of your work colleagues:
How happy are your colleagues? Sleep deprivation will drastically affect a person’s mood, making them prone to mood swings and aggressive behavior. It can also lead to anxiety attacks and cause depression if left untreated.
Do they remember your name? Good quality sleep boosts memory and learning, missing out will result in memory problems, cognitive function and your ability to learn.
Do their eyes glaze over in team meetings? Concentration is also directly affected by sleep deprivation. It becomes increasing challenging to concentrate when you are not sufficiently rested. This in turn significantly increases the chances of accidents, especially while driving a vehicle or operating machinery.
Have they piled on a few pounds recently? Long-term sleep deprivation often causes problems with weight gain as hormones are out of balance and individuals tend to overeat, become reliant upon stimulants and sugar to function which in turn affects normal body metabolism.
How is their health? Sleep deprivation will cause high blood pressure, obesity, increased blood sugar levels, and impaired metabolism which can all increase the risk of developing heart disease.
Are they the last to be picked in the office sports teams? Persistent sleep deprivation can even affect coordination and balance. In some individuals this can be so extreme that they find it difficult to walk straight (just like our drunk friend at the start of this post).
Are they a shadow of the man they used to be? Impaired sleep can also reduce testosterone levels in men, affecting their sex drive and causing numerous health challenges.
Sleep deprivation is a significant problem for so many individuals and the companies that they work for. For years many organisations have set about trying to improve employee absenteeism but in my opinion they now have a bigger problem of dealing with employee “presenteeism” – A condition where employees may well be present in the workplace, but incapable of performing at any level primarily due to sleep deprivation and the knock on effects of this condition.
If an individual goes without sleep for more than seventeen to nineteen hours or fails to achieve at least six hours sleep for four consecutive nights then they are effectively over the drink-drive limit and will have the equivalent concentration and cognitive function of a drunk driver.
Is that how you want you or your company to perform?
If you are struggling with sleep deprivation or have any sleep related issues contact us for our free eBook on enhancing sleep performance or book in for your sleep and performance consultation.