High sleep debt negatively impacts both the productivity and quality components of work performance, and can also affect working relationships. (Sleep debt, fyi, is defined as the amount of sleep we owe our bodies, relative to our individual sleep need, calculated over roughly the last two weeks.) When employees aren’t meeting their sleep need, they have difficulty focusing (meaning pure volume of work decreases), retaining new information (so training and new skill building are unproductive), and communicating effectively. Lapses in attention increase, and creative problem-solving takes a hit. Sleep-deprived employees are also less empathetic and more impatient, and so can be emotionally reactive in their interactions with colleagues and customers, straining workplace and revenue relationships.
Zooming out a bit further, the aggregate effects of team-wide sleep debt are even more staggering. When your teams are chronically underslept, they’re going to be more susceptible to stress, anxiety, and more likely to experience job dissatisfaction--a recipe for team-wide burnout and, in the worst cases, high employee churn.
As a final point--business leaders themselves are in no way immune to the ill-effects of sleep debt. Not only does a leader set the tone for their team (research shows that if your employees see you devaluing your own sleep, no one on the team will feel comfortable prioritizing theirs), but sleep deprivation diminishes leadership capabilities, as well--things like the ability to reason effectively, decisiveness, and the aptitude for coming up with and executing new ideas. And--perhaps the most pernicious of all--studies have determined that when leaders are underslept, they lose their edge when it comes to relating to, supporting, and inspiring others.
Because effective knowledge work is so reliant on humans and humans are so reliant on sleep, the equation is straight forward: any other investment you make in your team (new technologies, tools, training, etc.) is like pouring water into a leaky bucket when your employees are carrying substantial sleep debt.
We often get the question: if sleep is so important to workplace performance, why am I only hearing about it now? It’s a great question, and we’ve spent a lot of time teasing it out. Ultimately we believe there are several key reasons for the misinformation and lack-of-awareness surrounding our sleep need:
So while sleep is easily the cheapest, fastest, and most impactful way to start seeing team-wide performance gains, it suffers from the bad press of decades of misunderstanding that other tools, solutions, and techniques don’t.
This brings us to another question we’ve learned to anticipate: if sleep is so important, why don’t I just tell my employees to sleep more and move on? Unfortunately, simply telling someone to improve their sleep doesn’t cut it. Since we’re programmed to not feel the effects of our own sleep-deprivation and subsequent performance declines, many of us don’t know how much sleep we actually need to function optimally nor how much sleep debt we owe.
This is where RISE comes in--the first step to improving employee sleep is providing an objective way to measure 1) each person’s unique sleep need and 2) the amount of sleep debt they’re accruing (or not) with each night’s sleep. RISE does both these things, and also advises on how to begin paying down that debt through improved sleep habits customized to their individual needs and chronobiology. And, what’s more, when you use RISE to promote sleep as a team-wide initiative, you’re adding the power of group accountability, and establishing among your employees a shared language of sleep--aspects that further encourage lasting change and resultant revenue gains.
Sleep is the unsung hero of business success. By offering your employees better sleep using a tool like RISE--that is, a personalized, objective, and actionable way of measuring their sleep--you’ll be putting them in the best position to meet their potential...and when your team members are healthy, happy, and operating at full capacity each day, revenue will rise.
Learn more about Rise for sales teams.
RISE makes it easy to improve your sleep and daily energy to reach your potential