Sleeping on the Job? Go Right Ahead

The business world is changing. Workplace demands and employer expectations are increasing, resulting in people worldwide working more and sleeping less. It’s not unusual to wake up from a night’s sleep feeling unrested and unable to perform to your best. Why? Unlike in the pre-digital age, modern downtime is highly connected. Sure, we might be fortunate enough to physically leave the office before 6 pm, but we are not mentally detaching from our workplace responsibilities until long after officially clocking off.

The continuing demand for employees to be “always on” means that people are sleeping less, and the quality of sleep we are getting is diminished, according to the scientific journal PLOS One. The usual seven to nine hours recommended for regeneration is not having the effect it once did. Putting yourself on-call by staying connected to work through electronic devices produces 50% more sleep problems, according to the Journal of Sleep Research, and makes you feel 10% less recuperated, so it’s not surprising that people complain of feeling constantly tired. What’s more, according to the Pulse Institute, poor sleepers report 23% poorer concentration and 18% reduced memory function.

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Dr. Jamie Gruman

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Dr. Jamie Gruman is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics. He specializes in human sustainability and productivity in the workplace, and recently published the book, Boost.


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