There are only so many hours in the week. With more and more employees balancing long hours at work with an active family and social life, getting enough sleep can easily become an afterthought. Yet getting more shut-eye increases job performance and overall health, and can even land you a bigger salary, research finds.
Over 10 years ago, a study demonstrated that a one-hour increase in a group of worker's mean weekly sleep raised wages by roughly half as much as a one-year increase in education for the whole group. Last year, a US study found that a one-hour increase in average weekly sleep increased wages by 1.5 per cent in the short run and by 4.9 per cent in the long run.
Arguably, these and many other studies in between, have proven that sleep impacts productivity, with too little sleep leading to worse performance. Yet some data show that on average employees are getting between 6.5 and 7 hours of sleep a night, when the recommended amount for adults is 7 to 9 hours.
So why do we still struggle to get ourselves to bed? Perhaps it's because despite proven links between sleep and performance, the actual reasons for sleep are still unknown.
"It's one of the most interesting questions in all science: Why do we sleep in the first place?" said Jeff Anderson, co-author of a recently-published sleep study, in a press release. "It's incredibly disadvantageous to spend a third of our life asleep. There must be an important reason to do it, but why is still an active field of research".
Although the underlying need for sleep might still be a mystery, there is no question about the fact that getting enough of it benefits us at work. And if better health and an increased salary aren't motivation enough, you can read about the top mistakes staff have made due to a lack of sleep here.