You have likely heard all your life just how important sleep is, but you might not have realized the exact scope of that news. Not only do you need sleep to improve your sense of well-being, but you also need it in order to function properly.
Recent research indicates that even the most basic of decisions can become nearly impossible to make if you suffer from sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep creates a cloud in your mind that makes it difficult to think clearly and make good decisions.
This issue is still undergoing a great deal of research. However, it is safe to say for now that this is yet another reason to get a consistently good night of sleep. Your body is depending on it for a number of reasons.
Sleep Deprivation Lead To Reduction in Cognitive Flexibility
To understand the role that sleep deprivation plays in the decision-making process, one must first know about the concept known as cognitive flexibility. This is the term used to describe the way we are able to shift the way we think about any given situation based upon any new information that we are able to gather.
The best way to explain this is to consider the act of driving a car. When there are no cars with you on the road, you are free to go at a certain speed and not have a care in the world. When the situation changes and another car appears in front of you, you must be able to shift your thinking in order to apply the brakes. If you are deprived of sleep, you will tend to make this decision much more slowly because it takes your brain time to process the new information. This is time you really do not have, as making the decision too late can result in an accident.
Take this example to the office setting. For example, you could be in a meeting with your manager who are expecting you to make a presentation about the effectiveness of a recent marketing campaign. After the presentation you will be asked questions from everyone in the meeting about the information you presented. After a good night’s sleep your brain will be able to process the questions quickly and respond without having to fumble through notes or not be able to recall the information at all. A sleep deprived mind creates a fog around your ability to recall information quickly and think creatively to answer questions.
Scientists have now discovered a gene that can predict the decision-making ability of people who are sleep deprived. Studies are now being conducted to determine the extent to which cognitive flexibility impacts the ability to make good decisions.
The Role of the Brain in Sleep Deprivation
It is important to understand the role that the brain plays in cognitive flexibility. Specifically, researchers want to learn the exact extent to which sleep deprivation leads to bad decisions. This is a branch of neuroscience that can really inform us of a great deal. When you are too tired, you lack the ability to make reasoned decisions. Many organizations have performed research to determine how sleep effects employee productivity. One study shows that, “U.S. companies lose an estimated $60 billion due to lower productivity caused by poor sleep.
Your employees work slower and less effectively without sleep. Productivity losses associated with fatigue are estimated to cost $1,967 per employee annually. Additionally, presenteeism associated with individuals struggling with insomnia is considered to be equivalent to 8 days of lost work performance per year.”
If you are well rested, you are able to process new information and arrived at a much better course of action.
If you are struggling in your efforts to get to sleep, you might want to consider a new foam mattress. This will provide you with the support and comfort that you need to get asleep faster and stay there.
This information should help encourage you to do what it takes to sleep better at night. There are many strategies that you can implement, but it all begins with a routine. If you are the type that goes to bed late and rises early, you will want to adjust your timing a bit. It is important to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you can do that, then you will be doing well. Sleep deprivation will not hamper your ability to make decisions moving forward.