Missing just minutes of sleep can put your job at risk

It can affect your performance in the workplace.

Studies have reported bidirectional associations of sleep with daily stressors and negative mood. Still, little is known about how sleep is associated with workers’ daily cognitive interference or the experience of off-task and distracting thoughts.

In a new study by the University of South Florida, scientists examined whether nightly sleep was associated with next-day cognitive interference, and vice versa, during workdays and non-work days.

They found that shorting your sleep just for 16 minutes could interfere with job performance. The workers are more likely to have poor judgment and fall off-task the next day.

Scientists surveyed 130 healthy employees who work in the IT sector and have at least one school-aged child. Members revealed that when they slept 16 minutes less than usual and had worse quality sleep, they encountered increasingly psychological issues the following day. That raised their feelings of anxiety, particularly with respect to issues identified with work-life balance.

Lead author Soomi Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Aging Studies said, “These cyclical associations reflect that employees’ sleep is vulnerable to daily cognitive stress and also a contributor to cognitively stressful experiences. Findings from this study provide empirical evidence for why workplaces need to make more efforts to promote their employees’ sleep. Good sleepers may be better performers at work due to greater ability to stay focused an on-task with fewer errors and interpersonal conflicts.”

Researchers also compared work-days to weekends. They conclude the consequences of less sleep is not as apparent when one has the next day off from work.

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