''You should really get more sleep.'' This is a very common phrase we all our used to. Studies show that when more than a billion people lose an hour of sleep — heart attacks increase by 24%! That's how much even a small change in sleep impacts health

Sleep deprivation impacts cardiovascular health, reproductive health, mental health, your brain, your immune system... and it'll make you behave really weirdly at work.

  • Lack of sleep makes you less ambitious.

"Under slept employees, defined as sleeping six hours or less, will select fewer challenging problems,"

  • Lack of sleep makes you less creative.

In that same experiment, once they are working on meaningful problems, under slept employees come up with fewer creative solutions.

  • Lack of sleep makes you unethical.

These employees become more likely to fudge a factor in a spreadsheet, falsify expense claims, or even claim the work of other people as their own.

  • Lack of sleep makes you lazy.

In a group, workers who have slept less will lean on others to do the work and ride their coattails. That's called social loafing, and it doesn't make for a great team atmosphere.

  • Lack of sleep makes you bad at learning.

Sorry students, all-nighters are pointless. After an all-nighter, your capacity to retain new information drops by 40%.

  • Lack of sleep makes you less of a leader.

A study by Christopher Barnes at the University of Washington shows: When CEOs have had a bad night's sleep; their employees rate them as less charismatic! The rating can change significantly from one day to the next and though the workers have no idea of their leader's sleeping habits, they can tell that something was off.

So there's really little evidence that Jack Ma's devotion to the 9-9-6 schedule — working 9 am to 9 pm six days a week — makes any business sense. It was already questionable in the industrial age, when tired workers made more mistakes and had more accidents, and it is especially questionable in the information age.

What can be harmful on an individual level becomes nonsensical at the national scale. The RAND Corporation measured that sleep deprivation costs developed economies up to 3% of GDP, a growth rate many countries would envy.

The bad news is you can't "catch up" on sleep, and the damage done is done. But you can stop adding to it.

These are some recommendations for a good night's sleep:

  • Be regular. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekend.
  • Keep a cool room. Your body needs to drop its temperature to fall asleep. Ideal room temperature is 65°F or 18°C.
  • Make your bedroom a haven. Don't work there. Your brain needs to associate it with sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping pills, caffeine and alcohol. They keep your sleep superficial.
  • Every species known to science sleeps. There must be a good reason. "If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, it's probably the biggest mistake the evolution process has ever made. You're not reproducing, you're not finding food, you're not caring for your young, and worse still, you're vulnerable to predation," Walker notes. "It's the most idiotic thing — unless it's non-negotiable."


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