POSTED: February 09 2018
Are we sleepwalking towards poor productivity?

Are we sleepwalking towards poor productivity?

A leading occupational health and wellbeing organisation has highlighted the importance of the link between sleep and employee productivity.


Seventeen hours without sleep results in performance impairment equivalent to that caused by two alcoholic drinks. These issues around productivity, work and sleep have been highlighted by Andrew Harris, Client Wellbeing Manager at Healthy Performance.

Andrew commented “Sleep is probably the most important fundamental of life, yet it’s probably the most neglected.”

“Poor sleep quality can have a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing, which is something we come across regularly during health checks.”

Andrew added that “Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

“Poor sleep also affects our productivity at work. We are more at risk of losing concentration and making mistakes and our attention to detail is affected, which can be a huge problem in some industries.”

Andrew has outlined a way that everyone can start to understand if lack of sleep affects productivity.

“Here’s a simple way to test your sleep efficiency. Divide the numbers of hours you are asleep by the numbers of hours you are physically in bed. i.e. 6 hours asleep and 8 hours in bed = 75%. Good sleepers will hit 90%. How have you scored?“”



Why do we need sleep?

Did you know that you could survive for three times as long without food as you could without sleep?

In the UK, 74% of adults sleep less than 7 hours each night, increasing their risk of mortality by 13%.

Why do we need it? Sleep allows us to perform several key tasks:

  • Downloading and storing memories
  • Rest and rejuvenation
  • Muscle growth and repair
  • Hormonal processes


How much sleep do we need?

Adults require around 7-9 hours of sleep but in some cases 6 or 10 may be appropriate for certain individuals. Everyone is different.


Three tips to improve your sleep

  1. The body likes routine, especially when it comes to sleep. A consistent bedtime and getting up time will help the body establish a healthy pattern of rest.
  2. Sleepiness is induced by a reduction in light. Avoid the use of electronic devices close to bedtime as the blue light they emit confuses the brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
  3. If you are struggling to drift off because of a busy mind, get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper and come back to it in the morning.

World Sleep Day is celebrated every year on the Friday before the Spring Equinox. It takes place this year on Friday March 16th. The clocks go forward in the UK just over a week later so don’t lose any more sleep than you need to!


For more information, visit the Sleep Council website here.


Andrew Harris is Client Wellbeing Manager at Healthy Performance, the employee health and wellbeing specialists. He has 15 years’ experience of delivering Health and Wellbeing Services to businesses throughout the UK and is an expert in sleep and how it affects performance.

As well as employee health checks, Healthy Performance deliver a variety of workshops, and sleep is a popular topic.  For more information visit