sleepSleep is crucial in every facet of life. It helps people to think clearly, work faster, perform at their peak and all in all lead a well-rounded happy, healthy life. Researchers are always touting the benefits of increased sleep, and yet the business culture still considers sleep to be a loss of productivity. We haven’t conducted formal research on the impact of sleep on cognitive processing, but there are many studies on the subject. According to a 2013 study from Harvard Medical School, American companies are losing $63.2 billion a year due to a loss in productivity caused by sleep deprivation. That is a staggering amount. Clearly, organizations benefit when their employees get the recommended amount of sleep, typically 7-8 hours a night. We have seen first-hand that “sleeping on an idea” can have a significant positive impact on learning. In our programs people are typically given a powerful intellectual stimulus such as an exercise on building collaboration or applying customer-centricity. When people are first exposed to this exercise, they respond thoughtfully and are completely engaged. But the real surprise comes the following morning people, when people consistently report a whole new level of processing and excitement. We frequently hear things like “I was really thinking about this last night,” or “I woke up and realized…” What we have seen repeatedly is that the act of doing stimulating learning exercises, discussing them in a learning group, journaling about them, followed by a good night’s sleep, produces significant increase in motivation, engagement and application of the learning to real world situations. Sleep clearly improved efficiency and job performance. Many top leaders are also praising the benefits of a good night’s sleep, including Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg who have both told interviewers that they’ve realized the value of sleep. In addition, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently told ABC News that he sleeps an average of eight hours a night. And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been bragging about his eight hours of sleep since 1999 when he discussed his sleep habits with a Wall Street Journal reporter. If this isn’t enough evidence that sleep is crucial for success, a recent study conducted by economic graduate students at the University of California at San Diego, found that by getting one extra hour of sleep a night wages increased by 16 percent a year, on average, because sleep enabled people to perform better at their jobs. Sleep should stop being viewed as a way of preventing negative conditions and instead be seen as a primary force for increasing productivity and organizational success. Make sleep a priority just like any other task. With that in mind, good night and sweet dreams!  ]]>

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