Morpheus from the Matrix saying,

Sounds ridiculous, right? How can you get more done by sleeping more?

The answer follows the idea of, '"work smarter, not harder."

Lack of sleep can lower your productivity by impacting your memory, reaction time, and judgement.

What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep?

There's no "one-size fits all" approach to sleep.

On average, an adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

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Studies show that being awake for 17-18.5 hours can have the same impacts on our judgment, memory, creation time, and spatial awareness as having a blood alcohol level of (BAC) of 0.05%. Being awake for 17.75-19.6 hours has similar impacts to having a blood alcohol level of 0.1%.

In many regions, the legal limit to drive is 0.08%.

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The results are clear!

A lack of sleep impacts your body similarly to being drunk.


Jagmeet has been awake for 18 hours. Bob has had a few drinks. They both need to write a report. Which of the following is most true?

Putting It Together

How does this impact your work?

  • Tasks you finish will be of lower quality, risking the chance they need to be redone.

  • You will have poorer judgment, increasing the chance of a mistake.

  • There will be more mistakes, which means more time spent correcting them.

Sleep deprivation increases the chance of mistakes.

And mistakes take time to correct.

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There is another impact: it takes longer to complete tasks while sleep deprived.

You are a more efficient worker when you get a good night's sleep. Meaning you can spend the same amount of time working, but complete more tasks.

You boost your productivity for the day.

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Productivity is about more than work.

  • A lack of sleep can make learning new things harder.

  • It will take longer to read articles.

  • Making progress on your hobbies may be more difficult.

  • Things like cooking dinner or planning outings take more time.

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Can you think of other ways that you are productive in your life outside of work?


You've written a report at 3am after being awake for 19 hours. Which of these might happen?

How To Get A Better Night's Sleep

There are many resources out there to get a good night's sleep. Here are some quick tips to consider:

  • Increase exposure to light during the day

  • Exercise during the day, but not before bed

  • Don't drink caffeine in the evening

  • Reduce blue light (light from screens) in the evening

  • Wake up and go to bed at consistent times

  • Consider a pre-sleep routine to help you relax, such as meditation.

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If you have difficulty sleeping, consider seeing a doctor to rule out or diagnose a potential sleep disorder.

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Take Action

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Lack of sleep can impact your productivity at work or daily activities. We live in an era where people brag about how much they work and how little sleep they get.

Not only is this damaging to our health, but may actually make us less productive workers.


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