Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer

The effect of sleep deprivation on productivity and performance is well documented. This article by the Harvard Business Journal lists a few major sleep-related factors that affect our performance. One factor would be the drive for rest and sleep at night. The longer you stay awake; you build up a strong drive for sleep at night. Dr. Clif Saper at Harvard Medical School discovered when the homeostatic pressure to sleep becomes high enough, a couple thousand neurons in the brain’s “sleep switch” ignite, causing sleep to take over. When we are drowsy, the brain can involuntarily seize control.

Another major factor is the total amount of sleep you get over a period of several days. 8 hours of sleep a night should give you the alertness you need to be productive throughout the day, but if you have a sleep disorder or if you get less than 8 hours of sleep a day for several days, you can start building a sleep deficit that makes it difficult for the brain to function. If you average four hours of sleep a night for four or five days, you develop the same level of cognitive impairment as if you’ve been awake for 24 hours—equivalent to legal drunkenness.

Dr. Stan Farrell has extensive training in treating sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Dr. Stan Farrell offers one of the leading alternatives for the CPAP, which is an oral appliance that can be used in conjunction with a CPAP or as a stand-alone oral appliance depending on the severity of the individual’s OSA. If you or someone you know might be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, please schedule an initial consultation today with Dr. Farrell at 480-945-3629 or visit us at for more information.

Bronwyn Fryer, Contributing editor, Harvard Business Journal