The National Sleep Foundation says most adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Easier said than done, right? Maybe, unless you consider the following benefits of a good night’s sleep. Yet sleep-deprivation is often treated like a business-macho thing, even by us. But the research is clear—sleep is good.

Sleep can improve physical and mental performance.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on one’s ability to think and function during the day. That includes basic cognitive functions like concentration and working memory, but also more advanced ones like logical reasoning.

Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can have long-term physical health consequences. Depression, stress, obesity and chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease have been linked to insufficient sleep. According to Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School professor considered one of the leading authorities on sleep and sleep disorders, “with too little sleep, people do things that no CEO in his or her right mind would allow. All over the world, people are running heavy and dangerous machinery or guarding secure sites and buildings while they’re exhausted. Otherwise intelligent, well-mannered managers do all kinds of things they’d never do if they were rested—they may get angry at employees, make unsound decisions that affect the future of their companies, and give muddled presentations before their colleagues, customers, the press or shareholders.”

“We would never say,
‘This person is a great worker! He’s drunk all the time!’
Yet we continue to celebrate people who sacrifice sleep for work.”

Dr. Charles Czeisler, Harvard Medical School

Sleep can help you strike a better work-life balance.

Improving mental performance and physical health through sleep can leave you with more time and energy for family, friends and hobbies.

Sleep can help prevent accidents.

Road warriors, listen up: There’s a reason why the National Sleep Foundation compares driving drowsy to driving while under the influence. Sleep deprivation erodes many of the skills required for driving (or operating workplace machinery), including hand-eye coordination, reaction time, vision, awareness of surroundings and judgment. Yet 60 percent of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy, and 37 percent admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel, according to the NSF’s Sleep in America survey.

Need help falling asleep. See: “Healthy Ways to Fall Asleep Fast

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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