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The perfect range of sleep for optimal performance at work

It is well established that not getting enough sleep negatively impacts upon our health and wellbeing. But, according to new research, sleeping too much also has deleterious effects, highlighting the need for us to strike the right balance.

The 2019 Workplace Wellbeing report, compiled by Australian advocacy and training organisation WorkScore, surveyed over 12,500 Australian employees, with a particular focus on persons in the financial services, retail, healthcare, education and governmental industries.

Sleep, “as it turns out, [has] quite a lot” to do with our performance at work, the report said, with seven to nine hours determined to be the ideal range in which one’s sleep can aid performance at work the next day. In fact, people sleeping in this range have 25 per cent more energy, the report said.

“When it comes to sleep, like so many things in life, it’s all about getting the balance right,” the report surmised.

Employees who sleep less than seven hours per night reported being 23 per cent more stressed, and those who sleep less than five hours per night rate work as being 17 per cent more stressful.

However, getting more than the recommended amount of sleep isn’t overly helpful, either. People who sleep more than 10 hours per night, the report said, have 50 per cent less energy than those getting the recommended quantum. Interestingly, those sleeping too much “also report having less energy and concentration than those who sleep less than five hours”.

In addition to having 25 per cent more energy, those sleeping between seven and nine hours per night said that they had 25 per cent higher levels of wellbeing, they found it 35 per cent easier to switch off from work, they rated their work-life balance the highest and they reported the highest levels of flexibility at work.

Furthermore, 48 per cent of those who get five hours or less sleep every night are working an additional six to eight hours of unpaid work a week. Those sleeping within the recommended range, however, are doing the least number of unpaid hours of work.

In response to such data, WorkScore advised employers to allow employees to disconnect from work, encourage breaks from work during the day and schedule walking meetings for more fresh air.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain