In 1993, Swedish psychologist Anders Ericcson set out to find what makes great performers tick. He was particularly interested in what separates top-level performers from mediocre ones. Ericsson studied 40 violinists of varying abilities in Germany and found that, second to sheer practice, sleep was the most important factor in their success. The best artists slept more than the average artists. In fact, the top-tier violinists slept eight and half hours a night – two hours more than the typical American.
Ericsson concluded that good quality sleep is conducive to performance and productivity and this stands to reason. Sleep is fundamental to cognitive function, while a lack of sleep impairs judgment, erodes focus and slows reaction times. It is for this reason that insomnia is routinely sign-posted as a public safety hazard. In the United States alone, fatigue is responsible for 100,000 road accidents, and 1,550 traffic-related deaths per year.
Without sleep, cognitive functioning and performance suffer, and this results in a loss in productivity in the workplace. In 2011, pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis funded a major survey of over 4,200 employees across four different companies. 10% of employees reported to having insomnia and a further 45% said they had trouble sleeping. The average employee reported to sleeping just 6.2 hours a night. This lack of sleep translates to an overall lack of productivity, and ultimately a financial loss for the respective companies. Insomnia results in 11.3 fewer days at work and a loss of $2,280 per employee per year. Nationally, a lack of sleep results in a loss of $63.2 billion to the US economy.
As it turns out, you can put a price on a good night’s sleep. Without it, overall functioning is damaged and the consequences of this can be devastating. Rebel entrepreneurs value sleep and understand that this basic biological process can make all the difference in terms of productivity and performance.
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