How Sleep Can Improve Your Performance at Work

The value of sleep is being rediscovered as scientific research reveals its many benefits including better problem solving, reduced stress and improved communication.

It’s become a cultural norm to praise those who pull all-nighters to meet a deadline, and to admire those who can operate on five hours of sleep. But things are changing as science begins to reveal that operating on minimal sleep is not healthy – in fact, it limits our productivity.

Sleep deprivation is so common in the USA that it’s been declared a public health epidemic. Adults who get less than seven to nine hours of sleep have a greater chance of developing hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity and cancer. Research has also revealed that sleep flushes a waste product called beta-amyloid from the brain – a valuable brain-preserving process when you learn that this waste product accumulates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s.

But getting enough shut-eye doesn’t only boost your immune system and cut down those days of sick-leave. High quality sleep can also give you a competitive advantage at work. Here’s how sleep can make you a dream team-member:

  • It repairs neural pathways that allow your brain to learn more and remember what you’ve learnt. You’ll be finding solutions while that guy who lives on coffee and never leaves the office is still checking his notes!
  • It enhances your logical thinking, problem solving, attention span and decision making – all skills of a great leader.
  • It reduces stress and makes you a happier person who lifts the mood of those around you.
  • It makes you better at communicating, which is one of the most valuable skills when it comes to working with others.
  • It makes you less likely to mess up and make a mistake.

It’s no surprise that many successful people believe in the power of getting enough sleep:

  • Bill Gates needs seven hours to keep him sharp, creative and upbeat.
  • The Dalai Lama claims sleep is the best medicine.
  • Jeff Bezos, founder of gets eight hours to make sure he’s alert and can think clearly.
  • Matthew McConaughey, actor, producer, director and writer needs eight and a half hours in order to feel good the next day.
  • Arianna Huffington, the author, columnist and former president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, is a dedicated champion of sleep after suffering a burnout during her career. In her book ‘The Sleep Revolution’, she looks at how the culture of seeing sleep as wasted time affects all aspects of our lives. She delves into the science of sleep, takes on the controversial topic of sleeping tablets, and shares experts’ advice on how to get more, good quality sleep.

It certainly seems worth trying to get more of this elixir that costs nothing but a little more time and planning. Set a recurring alarm for eight and a half hours before you have to get up and when it goes off, switch off all technology and spend half an hour unwinding. Write any to-dos on a list before you climb into bed and sink into this luxurious, life-improving (yet simple) regime.


Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.