Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Productivity

By M. Grace, October 05, 2018 06:10 AM

person sleeping(pixabay)

A new study revealed that sleep deprivation can decrease our productivity levels at work. It has highlighted that lacking sleep can decrease our ability to complete the tasks, lead us to basic to dangerous mistakes at work.

A report on October 3 said that Michigan State Unversity carried out the study and did the largest experimentally controlled research on sleep deprivation, looking at the effects of 24 hours sleep deprivation on 234 participants. The researchers asked the participants to come into a sleep lab at 10 in the evening and asked them to complete a series of tasks in order. At midnight, half of the participants stayed awake in the lab overnight while the other half went home to sleep.

The findings of the research were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. It showed that there was a sharp increase in error by those people who had stayed awake all night compared to those who slept at home.

"All participants met performance criteria in the evening, but roughly 15 percent of participants in the sleep-deprived group failed in the morning, compared to 1 percent of those who slept," said co-author Kimberly Fenn.

"Furthermore, sleep-deprived participants not only showed more errors than those who slept but also showed a progressive increase in errors associated with memory as they performed the task; an effect not observed in those who slept," she added. "This shows that the sleep-deprived group experienced a great deal of difficulty remembering where they were in the sequence during interruptions."

With these findings, the study suggested that those who lack sleep should not perform tasks associated with a lot of interruptions at work or if they should perform, it should be for a short period of time only.

"If you look at mistakes and accidents in surgery, public transportation and even operating nuclear power plants, lack of sleep is one of the primary reasons for human error," Fenn said. "There are many people in critical professions who are sleep-deprived. Research has found that nearly one-quarter of the people with procedure-heavy jobs have fallen asleep on the job."

"Every day, approximately 11 sponges are left inside of patients who have undergone surgery. That's 4,000 potentially dire missteps each year and an example of a procedural task gone terribly wrong that can result from sleep deprivation," Fenn further added.

"Operating with reduced cognitive capacity has wide-ranging effects. Students may pull all-nighters and not retain information for their exams. More worrisome, individuals working critical jobs may put themselves and other members of society at risk because of sleep deprivation," she said. "It simply cannot be overlooked."

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