Our resident sleep expert Dr. Carmel Harrington sat down to discuss what effects sleep deprivation has on our productivity.

How often do you stay up late, thinking you will achieve more with your time? Increasing demands, the internet and social media are increasing social factors that have seen our average sleep time decrease from 8.5 hours to 6.5 hours a night. These lost hours of sleep are a major productivity killer and the cost is more than many realise!

The perceived productivity thought to be gained by being awake longer, is most likely going to be undone by the fact that your high-level brain function is reduced when sleep is swapped for wakefulness. Tasks will be executed more slowly, and with a higher error rate.

Sleep is an important function for the brain, as it helps the brain to reset. Daily brain activity results in the accumulation of toxins which can only be removed by sleeping…and sleeping well. Without quality sleep, our brain will store these toxins – resulting in a reduction in our ability to think clearly, creatively, and slows down your ability to process information and problem solve. Studies have shown a dramatic difference in the brain function of people who sleep 6-hours who under-perform when compared to those who have had 7-hours or more.

Not only do we need good sleep to achieve peak performance we also require it for good mental health. Not surprisingly, a lack of sleep is also linked to a lack of motivation and a generalised negative mood state. Depression is the most common psychological disorder in the western world, and it’s growing in all ages groups. Depression can cause poor sleep, however it is important to be aware that consistent lack of sleep can also be a contributing factor for depression.

The research is clear.
Good sleep is fundamental to peak mental and physical performance.
Focus on your sleep, and reap the rewards.

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