With World Sleep Day on 16th March, it’s time to understand how lack of sleep physically impacts our health, productivity in the workplace and the overall economy.
According to research group RAND, the United States is the global leader with poor sleep costing its economy $411 billion every year.
In a separate report, RAND Europe discovered sleep deprivation in the UK workforce costs the economy £40.2 billion in loss of productivity and estimates this will steadily rise in cost to £47 billion by 2030 if current trends continue.
But if you are consistently sleeping poorly every night, it could be having an impact on your personal career and opportunities. You can’t produce your best work while suffering from sleep deprivation, so opportunities are likely to pass you by.
How lack of sleep impacts physical health?
Consistent poor sleep can have a long-term impact on your physical health. Your blood pressure is likely to increase, and you’ll gain weight more easily than when you have good-quality sleep.
Your immune system will weaken, making you more susceptible to common colds and illnesses – which can mean not being at your best for important meetings or deadlines. Far worse, there’s an increased risk of serious illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
There are mental health impacts, too. Your reaction times will slow down, and you’ll find issues with concentration. Mood changes and memory problems can also occur.
It’s easy to see how this might impact your personal life – but all of these have an effect on businesses, too. Whether you take more sick days because of your weakened immune system, or you make mistakes in your work, the cost of your poor sleep quality is impacting your career and your company’s success.
5 ways to improve your sleep quality
Long-term sleep disorders should be discussed with your doctor, as you may have a serious condition that needs medical treatment. However, if you simply find yourself feeling tired day after day, despite feeling like you’ve slept fairly well, there are some simple tricks to help:
- Switch off your phone: Stay away from your phone or laptop for at least an hour before bed. Give yourself time to relax and stay away from this additional source of unnatural light.
- Stick to a bedtime: Bedtimes aren’t just for kids. Stick with the same sleep and waking time every day – even at the weekend – to get into a good habit.
- Exercise every day: Even a brisk walk will help your body prepare for a good night’s rest and recovery.
- Find a bed that works for you: Your bed is the most important piece of furniture in your house. Do lots of research to find your ideal mattress and pillows.
- Take a break: If stress is becoming too much for you to cope with, consider taking a break from work and your daily routine. Recharging without the usual stressors could be just the thing you need to sleep better.
Jason Goldberg, Director of SpaSeekers says: “Sleep deprivation costs our economy billions of pounds in lost work every year, which has a major impact on the wider economy. It’s not just about money though; poor sleep can negatively impact your mental and physical health, leading to an increased risk of health complications in later life.
“Prioritising sleep is hugely beneficial to everyone – from politicians and CEOs, to office workers and retail staff.”