Research

Managers sacrifice sleep to feel productive, research suggests

14 Oct 2021 By Jyoti Rambhai

Behaviour study warns we should not prioritise work over long-term health

Managers are sacrificing the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night in order to feel more productive, according to research by Emlyon Business School.

Academics at the business school, alongside colleagues from Pennsylvania State University, asked 98 hotel managers to keep a diary of their work and home interactions for eight days. Participants were interviewed on a daily basis about their previous night’s sleep and work, which focused on sleep duration, work mood and perceived productivity.

The study found that managers who slept less put those extra hours into their work time, and felt more productive as a result. For every hour of sleep lost, managers worked an extra 31 minutes and 12 seconds.

Gordon Sayre, assistant professor of organisational behaviour and leadership at Emlyon, explained that despite sleep having many benefits to our health, when under pressure, managers feel they have to sacrifice it in order to get work done.

“It’s important to note that any small gains in productivity are far outweighed by the long-term costs of not getting enough sleep,” he said.

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