Facts don’t lie, and the facts show that Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. This is true for a multitude of reasons, namely work, studies, obligations to those important to us, and countless kinds of recreation. The ever-quickening pace of the new millennium has been steadily increasing the constraints placed upon our time, stretching it alarmingly thin as we fervently seek promotions, degrees, and good times. To that end, we attempt to capitalize on the time we do have by cutting back on sleep. At the same time, however, it is becoming progressively more apparent that the true costs of unhealthy sleep patterns are significantly higher than prior belief would suggest. The results can include increased absenteeism, decreased quality of work, and an overall reduction in productivity.
Sleep is what allows our bodies to recharge and refit after a long day. As you rest, your immune system regenerates to better pathogens. To that end, a lack of sleep can result in a compromised immune system, limiting our ability to fight off otherwise manageable illnesses and increasing the number of days that we are forced to take off of work. Sleep also revitalizes the mind as well as the body, so sleeplessness slows down and impairs our mental functions. Drowsiness and fatigue inhibit complex thought and logical reasoning abilities, meaning that our decisions might become more impulsive and ill-informed.
A lack of sleep can also reduce our memory processes in both the short and long term. Because of this, we effectively lose the ability to learn new things. Furthermore, we are significantly more prone to mistakes in the workplace after a night of restless or insufficient sleep. In fact, the average cost of one of these mistakes or errors was found to be over $20,000, meaning that proper sleep is just as important to the health of the company as it is to you.
It is important to realize that sleep is crucial for the proper maintenance of a host of bodily functions, both physical and mental, as well as an imperative part of being an efficient employee. It is not a luxury for us to pursue when so inclined or a frivolity for us to shun and ignore. Rather, it is the singular force that allows us to rise from our beds in the morning and go out into the world as happy, healthy, and productive individuals.