Sleep Well Wednesdays: 4 reasons your work suffers when you don’t sleep enough

A smiling woman wearing headphones while using a laptop.
I'm Olivia!

IF you want raw, real and unfiltered Olivia, my blog is where you'll find it.

Here, I'll share the highlights of my sleep expert life, as well as the highlights - and lowlights - of my personal life too.

hey there

TOp categories

It’s hard to be productive when you’re running on little sleep. Image: iStock

Heck, there’s nothing work than working on a giant report while your eyes are closing themselves.

If you’ve been following the Sleep Well Wednesdays series for a while, you would have noticed, sleep isn’t just about what happens in the evening. Rather, it affects every part of your waking life too: from how stressed you are, to your gut health, right through to sex drive and fertility

With respect to your work, sleeplessness is a major problem too, as you’ll read below. This is especially true if you’re staying up late to get extra work done; which can be extremely frustrating.

Facts are facts, if you don’t sleep enough you are at risk of the following:

1. Greater workday fatigue

Research shows accumulated sleep debt over 3-7 days, which is normal for many of us, produces the same levels of fatigue of two nights of complete sleep deprivation.

Yes, you heard correctly. Two entire nights of sleep deprivation. 

If you can, recall university days of staying up all night to get those last minute assignments in, or perhaps, if you’re a parent, the time when your new baby was sick and you got about 10 minutes of sleep across a few nights. Now: how fresh did you feel in either circumstance? 

Not very, I have no doubt. That’s exactly the impact of ongoing sleep loss – and exactly how you you’ll show up at work when you haven’t slept enough.

Image: iStock

2. Making unnecessary (and potentially dangerous) mistakes 

Making mistakes is time consuming, can be costly, and down right annoying.  If you’re tired at work, A Sleep Health Foundation survey noted 29% of all workplace errors can be directly attributed to fatigue.

This may be sending an email to the wrong client, forgetting to send an invoice or completely blanking on an important meeting. 

For those who are in the front line – healthcare workers for example, this may be giving the wrong medication to a patient, missing a sign of an illness, or incorrectly diagnosing a condition. While sending the wrong email is not such a major crisis, others can be.

3. Lack of productivity 

Productivity: we all want it, love it, crave it, but if we are sleep deprived, it’s just not going to happen. Research shows sleeping 5 hours or less makes you 4 times less productive. 

Perspectively, that means a 10 minute task takes 40.  That also means a one hour project will take 4 hours.  Not only does this frustrate you, it frustrates those around you.

Image: iStock

4. Impaired immunity 

On the brink of lockdown ending (hallelujah!), many of us are looking to get back into the office (again, hallelujah!). However, when sleep deprived, you need to know, you place yourself at risk of becoming sick, and similarly, you increase the risk of spreading these illnesses to your coworkers.

Even if you’re only missing a little bit of sleep, such as 6 hours instead of 7, you’re still 4 times more likely to catch a cold. 

Further to that, if you do become sick, it’s likely to be more severe and spread faster throughout your system, accompanying sleep loss is an increase in inflammation by 20%.  For you, impaired immunity is a problem – and equally, it’s a problem for your coworkers. 

Now – if this resonates with you, I don’t want you to feel bad, guilty or crawl into a cave.

I do want you to become aware, and take responsibility for improving your sleep, which can start with reading some of my other articles as part of this series, such as your best bedtime routinehow to wake less through the night and/or how to sleep deeper.

With my knowledge, and your eagerness to sleep, together we make a great team.

Originally featured on Body and Soul

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

smart, savvy and more than just a sleep expert.

Hi, I'm Olivia.

If you want raw, real and unfiltered Olivia, my blog is where you'll find it.
As an author and avid writer, I find immense pleasure in sharing the ins and outs - without holding back - of my journey through life.
Professionally, I'm a sleep expert - but i'm guessing you already know that.
Personally, I'm a free-flowing, idealistic introvert who loves to travel, dance and enjoy an Aperol Spritz.

Thank you for reading my blog - if you want to know more about me, click below.

Learn more ABOUT ME


Join my


VIPs! We'd love to have you.

get expert advice, industry only knowledge and more