Earlier this month, media mogul Ariana Huffington
gave the commencement
to the class of 2013 at Smith College in Northampton,
Mass. As is standard,
commencement speakers provide life and career advice to graduates. Yet no one in the audience expected this unusual
advice from Huffington: “You don’t get to the top by marrying someone. A much simpler way is to sleep your way to
Turns out, she meant this literally. As in sleep more. Back in 2007, a very sleep deprived Huffington fainted, hit her head on her desk and ended up with a broken
cheekbone and four stitches. Long-term
sleep deprivation can lead to serious
including high blood pressure, obesity
risk of stroke
, psychiatric problems, bone damage
. Not to mention the
fact that sleep-deprived driving is associated with more than 100,000 car crashes
each year, many of them fatal.
But it’s not just your health that can suffer from sleep
deprivation – it’s also your career. “Sleep deprivation will also profoundly affect your
creativity, your productivity and your decision-making,” noted Huffington.
And here’s why. Sleep deprivation can:
So what can we do to ensure we get more sleep? As Huffington says, “I’m a major sleep
evangelist. The Huffington Post’s office
in New York sports two nap rooms: at the beginning our reporters, editors and
engineers were reluctant to use them, afraid that people might think they’re
shirking their duties. We have to change workplace culture so that it’s walking
around drained and exhausted that’s stigmatized.”
- Lead to decreased alertness and excessive
sleepiness, which in turn impairs your cognitive abilities and your
memory. This means you probably won’t
remember that long “to do” list at work, or what your boss is looking for in
your next assignment.
- Make you more emotional, moodier or prone to conflicts, threatening not just your personal
relationships but also your professional ones. No one likes an angry co-worker!
- Reduce focus and performance. Losing just 90
minutes of sleep one night can reduce your alertness by more than 30 percent. This means it will be hard to pay attention in
meetings or with clients or customers at work.