Sleep-deprived workers are twice as likely to get fired, survey finds

Denitsa Tsekova
·Reporter

If you’re like an increasing number of Americans, you’re not getting enough sleep – and that could cost you your job, according to a new survey.

Exhausted employees are twice as likely to get fired because of poor work performance or tardiness compared with well-rested workers, according to survey data shared exclusively with Yahoo Money by eachnight, a sleep product review and advice site.

Bouncing back after a job loss is also harder for sleep-deprived workers who took an average of 5.1 months to find a new job, versus 3.4 months for those who got more sleep. The company polled online 1,001 people using Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Graphic Credit: David Foster/Yahoo Finance
Graphic Credit: David Foster/Yahoo Finance

“Good sleep and productivity are correlated,” said John Bernasconi, author of the survey report. “An energetic person who's taking care of themselves is probably better positioned to make decisions and engage in behaviors that lead to happiness in their personal or career life.”

More Americans are sleep-deprived

Exhausted workers slept on average 6 hours and 22 minutes a night, according to the survey, much less than the 7 to 9 hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for working-age adults.

The survey also underscores the growing number of Americans who aren’t getting enough rest.

One in 3 Americans sleep 6 hours or less each night, according to an analysis of the National Health Interview Survey data. That’s up 4% from 2010 to 2017, with the sharpest increases among African Americans and Hispanics.

“It might not sound like a lot, but 4% of adults is about the population of New York City,” said Connor Sheehan, the study’s author and an assistant professor at Arizona State University.

Exhausted workers slept on average of 6 hours and 22 minutes a night, much less than the 7 to 9 hours recommended for those between 26 and 64. (Photo: Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images Images)
Exhausted workers slept on average of 6 hours and 22 minutes a night, much less than the 7 to 9 hours recommended for those between 26 and 64. (Photo: Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images Images)

One possible culprit for shorter nighttime rest is the spike in smartphone usage before bedtime, Sheehan said.

“When you bring a bright, stressful light into your bed with you every night, that's not really great for your sleep,” he said. “If you read work emails, Facebook posts, or tweets, that’s not going to help you, either.

Financial drag on employers

Exhaustion has a ripple effect on not just your performance, but also on how much you cost your employer, the eachnight survey found.

Tired employees are twice as likely to make mistakes at work. (Photo: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)
Tired employees are twice as likely to make mistakes at work. (Photo: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

Tired employees feel unfocused an average of 3 hours and 11 minutes each day, almost twice as much as more energetic workers.

They’re also twice as likely to make mistakes at work compared with their more well-rested coworkers. Those mistakes mean lost money. Employers spend $1,254 more a year on fatigued workers because of their mistakes and the time it takes to correct those mistakes, the survey found.

“There are notable differences between energetic people and exhausted people,” Bernasconi said. “Whether you're an employee or an employee, it's important to know that happy, healthy employees are more productive as well.”

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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