In today’s fast-paced world, sleep has taken a back seat in the life of many career-oriented people. They either consider sleeping as a waste of time or neglecting sleep just to punch in those extra work hours seems like another step on the road to success to them. Scientific findings, however, contradict with this view entirely. Research on neuroscience of sleep has revealed adverse effects of sleep deprivation on our job performance as well as consumer behavior.
Here is your short guide to neuroscience of sleep and the effect it can have on our job performance and buying behavior.
Sleep Deprivation and Neuroscience
In simple words, sleep is a break time for your brain — to reset, re-program and recover. Information storage, toxin eradication, cell repair, reorganization of neurons to support optimal function of brain and regulation of hormones are some tasks that your brain works on during your sleep. A 2017 study, published in Journal of neuroscience, indicated towards the contribution of sleep to memory function. According to the study, neural activity during NREM sleep not only converts Short-term memory to long-term memory, but it also contributes to the decluttering of the nervous system by erasing of unimportant information.
Sleep deprivation can lead to impaired cognitive functioning: Attention, perhaps, is the cognitive domain that is most affected due to lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation results in decreased activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and IPS. These neural changes in the brain cause a decrease in attention span; whereas working memory also shows inconsistencies. Vigilance in performing any task as well as listening drops significantly. Reaction time is also affected.
While occasional all-nighters might not affect your work life to a great extent, a sleep study done at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that consistent sleep deprivation leads to permanent brain damage due to loss of neurons.
Sleep Deprivation and Hormonal Imbalance
Insufficient sleep also has an impact on your hormones. It causes an imbalance in hormones that are related to hunger, stress and inulin. According to experts, sleep deprivation increases adrenal stress as well as thyroid hormone. It increases the THC that result in slowing down your metabolism and affects the activity of the thyroid, making you feel tired the whole time.
A sleep-deprived body is in a constant state of stress due to high levels of cortisol production. High cortisol level is linked to the production of melanin (the sleep hormones) and will affect your sleep in the coming days. This hormonal balance is the reason you can’t sleep after pulling an all-nighter, even though you feel tired.
Sleep Deprivation Affects your Performance at Work
Sleep deprivation has increased in the United States during recent years. Today an average person sleeps almost 1.5 hours less than an average American in the 1960s. Most people are getting less than 8 hours of sleep a day. This is even more common among the youngsters who are doing part-time jobs to support themselves through school. Lack of sleep affects their performance not only at school but also their job.
Attention and vigilance are essential requirements when you are working in Sales. A salesperson must be attentive towards the needs of the customer and vigilant to perform whatever task is at hand. All these factors are affected gravely due to sleep deprivation and hence lead to a decrease in productivity and an increase in the rate of work-related accidents.
The researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that the lack of sleep negatively affects your mood as well as the ability to focus for days to come. According to one research, sleep deprivation has a similar effect on your brain as alcohol. This means that working in such a condition would be similar to operating while intoxicated! Whereas a study done on a B2B sales employees showed that that Well-slept employees show more grit, job satisfaction and commitment to their work.
The hormonal imbalance that results from a lack of sleep is indirectly linked to our mood and how we feel. It can affect our behaviour at the job. A sleep deprived salesperson may feel, tired, moody and absent-minded, which can affect the sales process with customers.
So, the big takeaway here is for salespeople and workers (in general) to get in a fair amount of sleep (7-8 hours per day) so that they can operate at their peak. Otherwise, severe cases of consistent sleep deprivation can lead to permanent loss of neurons and debilitating work efficiencies similar to someone under the impression of alcohol. This type of behavior is certainly not something a person wants to display at their workplace.
Sleep Deprivation and Consumer Behavior
As much as, it affects your performance at work, lack of sleep also affects the decisions of the consumers. Though it is commonly expected that lack of sleep would decrease your urge to look for options, however, a study published in Journal of Marketing Research found that Customers who are sleepy look for more variety in their shopping endeavors. In an attempt to keep themselves awake, they sought variety.
A lot of research still needs to be done on the impact of sleep on consumer behavior. According to the researchers of this study, sleepiness might result in unintentional buying behavior and make the consumer less responsive to things like product size as well as discounts.
We are both workers and shoppers at the same time, so the importance of adequate sleep in contributing to healthy decision making cannot be overstated. Therefore, sleeping at least 7-9 hours a night is essential if you want to succeed in the long run. It not only keeps your brain activity optimal but also keeps the body’s hormones in the balance!