This is why sleep deprivation leads to the incompetence of people’s working attitudes.

Did you enjoy a good night sleep? We hope you did. A good night sleep is important for both your mind and body. Psychologist suggests that the average person must have 6-8 hours of sleep. But what happens if you don’t get enough sleep? That’s weird, cause it messes with your psychological behavior, not only that, but also, it’s pretty uncontroversial: it makes your brain more or less cannibalize itself, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. According to a new study, sleep deprivation could make you incompetent on the job.

Related media: What Happens To Your Body And Brain If You Don’t Get Sleep

Dozing On The Job

In a 2018 study, it focused on participants’ ability to adhere to strict working conditions while sleep deprived — comprising of many professions, chefs to medical practitioners, of skills done at the workplace. The study’s 234 college-aged participants didn’t have to adhere to any particular workplace procedure, though. Rather, they had to adhere to the researchers’ own made-up ‘UNRAVEL’ protocol.

The acronym had each letter representing a specific stage in the protocol. The ‘U’ stage, for instance, the participants had to indicate whether a character on their screen was underlined or italicized. And for the ‘N’ stage, participants had to indicate if the random character was far or near to the beginning of the alphabet. And they had to recall where they were in the protocol, which was a tough task made all the more tough by interruptions: 20-second typed transcription tests that popped up on their screen at random.

It’s sounds really tiresome, but remember, this is a sleep deprivation study. Yet again, participants had to go through a myriad of UNRAVEL cycles during the night, and more cycles the next morning. In between the two stretches of testing, only half of the participants were allowed to sleep; the other half were kept awake overnight in the lab. Huh?

You Really Need A Nap

Image: The Independent / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Obviously, the sleep-deprived group performed much worse on the next day’s testing. They made so many errors, many of them after taking the transcription test because of the interruptions made them forget their place in the procedure. Researchers also found that as the morning tests progressed, the rate at which sleep-deprived participants made errors increased. And as a result, 15 percent of the participants failed the morning tests entirely. (Though one percent of the well-rested participants failed the morning tests.)

The UNRAVEL protocol might seem like a silly busywork — in fact, it really is — but the findings of the research places a serious implication on our workplaces, says Kimberly Fenn, an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University and the study’s lead author, in a press release.

Surgeons, for instance, constantly have to follow working procedures while sleep deprived, mostly during the internship phase of their career. This can lead to all kinds of pretty grave errors, like sewing patients up with medical implements and sponges still inside of them. Sleep deprivation can have even more serious consequences in other fields, too. It causes procedural mistakes, for instance, both the infamous 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl; and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, which dumped over 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean near Alaska, were reportedly caused by sleep deprived workers.

Go Get Some Rest

Image: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus

This study helps us understand better that the work-life balance is important, or at least understand the work-rest balance, too. It’s important to know that people having a good night sleep can help them achieve productivity better at work, and improve their overall performance. Its s not just that it makes individuals happier — it can also keep the people around them safer. (And not forgetting that sleep-deprived people are roughly as prone to car crashes as drunk people).

In an advertisement, it summarizes our culture when it declares that if “sleep deprivation is your drug of choice” it might mean you’re a “workaholic.” We should always be ready to get some rest at the end of the day to make way for a fresh mind and body to continue the next day. As the nursery rhyme that goes, “all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” This study makes it clear that all work and no rest, makes you a disaster waiting to happen.

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Thu, Jan 10, 2019.



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