<em>By Elizabeth Renter for U.S. News
Tossing and turning the night before a big presentation at work, or going without sleep for reasons you just can’t explain — there’s little doubt that failure to get a good night’s sleep leaves you groggy and dazed, at best. But the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation, whether you miss an entire night or just an hour each evening, could cost you in ways you never imagined.
Evidence from University of California-San Diego researchers suggests sleep times are directly linked to earnings. Their findings, currently under review, found that sleeping one extra hour each night increased average earnings by 16 percent. For their average study participant, this meant an extra $6,000 per year.
“The worst bout of insomnia I’ve had in my life, I went five nights without sleeping,” recalls 36-year-old Amanda McCauley of Omaha, Nebraska. “I was on a business trip, so I had to work the entire time. I had to be up, moving around, engaging and productive pretty early in the morning, and pull a few late nights.”
McCauley, who works in IT, says she hasn’t seen the long-term effects of her sleepless nights, but knows her insomnia has definite mental effects, which, in turn, affect her at work.
And for those people who say they just function better on less than the recommended hours of sleep?
“They’re full of it,” Perkins says. “It’s like saying, ‘I don’t need eyeglasses,’ but you didn’t realize you needed them until you had corrective lenses to compare what you’re currently seeing to what you ought to be seeing. They don’t have a reference point for normal sleep and refreshment.”
The next time you’re tempted to work late and burn the midnight oil, or rise to beat all of your co-workers to the office, remember: Sacrificing sleep could actually put you at a disadvantage. Putting in regular hours with a clear mind is more beneficial than overtime on limited sleep, and you’ll feel healthier for it.
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