We all get tired sometimes. Having a late night, being restless, or just being too hot or too cold can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest, as can sleep disorders, drugs, and even your internal clock (circadian rhythm). If you are tired once in a while, you probably won’t notice a large effect on your daily life. However, being tired regularly, or even experiencing a particularly poor night of sleep once in a while, can affect your life overall, including your work life. While most of us can make it through the day at work, finish all of our work, and be attentive to projects as well as coworkers, being too tired can seriously affect your work life; this is particularly true if you are tired all the time. It can be difficult to do your best if you are too tired, and your work, your health, and your relationships can suffer. Here are five ways that being tired affects your work life.
1. You have a difficult time paying attention
If you come to work exhausted, you will probably find that you have a hard time paying attention. This can affect your daily work, and your long-term projects. If you are really tired, it can be difficult to focus on what you need to get done, and you may find yourself zoning out instead of getting your work done. This can be particularly detrimental if you have an important meeting (and many of us lose sleep before a really big day because we are nervous); however, if you don’t perform your best, you risk looking inattentive and ill-prepared. It’s also possible that you will fall asleep at your desk and miss an important meeting or get behind at work.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that insomnia costs the average U.S. worker 11.3 days in lost productivity every year, and costs the nation $63.2 billion. The study suggests that although people go to work even when they are tired, they accomplish less. Even being tired to a lesser degree can affect your attention span and ability to accomplish tasks.
2. You make frequent mistakes
No one wants to make mistakes at work, and being sleep deprived almost guarantees that you will make repeated mistakes. Even being a little tired can make it difficult to complete common tasks, but being very overtired can seriously impede your job duties. Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn new things as well. Lack of sleep also affects your decision making and your ability to problem solve. If you get too tired, even for a day, you might make serious mistakes on a report, or even a bigger project. Along with having a difficult time paying attention, lack of sleep can increase your chances of making a mistake that you wouldn’t normally make.
3. You might have an accident
Two out of five drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel, which obviously is a great threat to the driver’s safety (as well as the safety of other people on the road.) But the problem doesn’t stop once you get to work. Not only might you fall asleep at work, but being tired in general can make you more prone to accidents. If you are tired, your ability to react quickly to situations will often decrease, and so your reaction time may not be quick enough when a potential accident arises. Not only might an accident result in a serious injury, but you could potentially hurt others as well. There is also the chance that your accident could be serious enough to cause you to miss further work, and then potentially fall further behind, and lose more money.
4. Your health and mood might be affected
Being tired too often can damage your health. Especially if you regularly miss sleep or become chronically sleep deprived, you may experience several health problems, including stroke, heart attack, obesity, and high blood pressure. Being too tired can also affect your ability to exercise, and also just complete regular daily tasks. If you have increased health problems, these problems can affect your work life by causing you to miss work, or by limiting what you can accomplish or do at work.
Lack of sleep can also affect your mood, and may contribute to psychological problems, which can also affect your work life.
5. You might be fired
If you are tired too often, or even if you are tired on a particularly important day and mess something up, you might be fired. Especially if your boss consistently notices you showing up late for work, falling asleep or zoning out, or failing to finish projects on time, your job might be in jeopardy. Even one large mistake caused by being too tired to focus or do things correctly, could be detrimental to your job. Even if you don’t get fired, your boss and coworkers will certainly notice if you are regularly late for meetings, or if you just are not pulling your share because you are too tired to do so.
Many of us can’t control our lack of sleep. We get nervous about a big meeting, or something else is happening in our personal life that keeps us up. However, there are things you can do to increase your energy level. Go to bed early enough to get a solid night of sleep, exercise, and eat well. If you are regularly experiencing sleepless nights, you may need to see a doctor.