The Connection Between Sleep, Productivity, and Pain - Movement-Rx

The Connection Between Sleep, Productivity, and Pain

What if the key to improved productivity isn’t what we do while we are at work, but what we do while we’re NOT at work?

We know that as living beings, our output is STRONGLY driven by our inputs and environment….imagine what your focus would feel like if the input looks like this: 5 hours of sleep last night, tight and sore low back muscles, low blood sugar, and a workload that you can barely think about because it stresses you out.

Dr. Marissa went LIVE on March 13, 2024 to talk about the connection between sleep, productivity, and pain. 

Watch the full recording if you want the details, and check below for two reasons and one tip to start prioritizing sleep for your own wellbeing, and that of your organization.

#1: Sleep your Way to Better Focus and Productivity

One of the biggest levers we can pull for our focus, creativity, and attention is adequate high quality sleep. Despite the well-documented benefits, a staggering 43% of business leaders do not get enough sleep at least 4 nights a week according to a McKinsey survey. And this comes at a cost:

  • Decline in in-role performance  (poor productivity, distracted focus, slower learning)
  • Poor interpersonal relationships within the workplace   (irritability, poor conflict resolution, lower EMPATHY)
  • Decline in organizational citizenship behaviors    (lower empathy)
  • Increase in unethical work behaviors    (greater impulsivity)
  • Increased perceived stress

However, a simple boost in sleep duration by 1 extra hour per night has been shown in one study to boost worker productivity by 20%. Although hard to directly measure, it’s estimated that this bumps organizational earnings by 1.1% in the short run and 5% in the long run…all in addition to making the workplace a more supportive, empathetic place to be.

Consider your sleep habits, duration, and quality as well as those of your people if you are looking for low hanging fruit to boost output, productivity or work quality. To note: this will require an organizational narrowing of expectations for when teams NEED to be available.  Hint: It’s not when they’re re-charging their most precious resources: their brain, mind, and body.

#2: Sleep your way to less Muscle and Joint Pain

Not only does sleep have direct effects on cognition and productivity, but it can help with chronic muscle and joint pains that might otherwise interfere with work.  Sleep deprivation is known to:

  • Heighten pain levels
  • Exacerbate psychological stress
  • Dampen muscular recovery
  • Impair muscle function.
  • Increase risk for low back and neck pain to become chronic
  • Exacerbate low grade inflammation

It’s simply easier to focus on your work when you’re feeling WELL, and not distracted by the emotional or physical toll of chronic musculoskeletal issues.


 #3: So how can we implement this as leaders for healthier, more productive teams??

First: Remember that YOUR self care and YOUR health are your competitive advantage, granting you improved energy, longevity, and ability to calmly handle the hard hits that come with any career. Act accordingly.

Second: YOU are a role model for all those you serve in your organization, and you WILL show up more focused, energetic, and empathetic when you are sleeping well.

Third: Start having some conversations about what your people’s sleep looks like. Take a look at what time you are receiving work emails…is it at midnight when you know you’ll see that person in the office at 7am?

Last: Consider what steps YOU might take so that you are supporting your team’s ability to recharge: maybe you “schedule” an email to arrive during their working hours (vs. 9pm), maybe you implement flexible start times to better accommodate the range of night owls and early birds, or maybe you add in some well-being on trainings on sleep (we’ve got you there, but that’s just the start of what total team well-being can look like)

How to dive deeper?

At Movement Rx, we are in the business of creating teams that lead and work better from a place of wellbeing. Because if you don’t make time for your wellbeing now, you’ll have to make time for disease later. 

We’re leading an immersive and freeing weekend designed to help you take back control of your time and re-focus on what’s actually important to you: your wellbeing.

Click HERE to learn more about our ‘Be Well to Lead Well’ Retreat

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