How Sleep Can Help You Keep Your Job

June 3, 2018
How To

For one reason or the other, not everyone gets enough sleep. But getting enough sleep can help you keep your job.

So it was for Stacy, a Project Manager, on the day she got into a verbal argument with her team lead. While her argument was valid, she couldn’t get across to her team lead in clear terms. It was a case of miscommunication and Stacy was not able to take a step back and explain things better. She had not had enough sleep the night before as she had been working 20 hours days the past week, this made her…..Hostile, insensitive, rash, and her performance were below par.

She had done everything right to warrant her getting fired. Like Stacy, not getting enough sleep may strain your relationship with your boss. And you may be at risk of getting fired.

How Sleep Affects Your Relationship With Your Boss

According to a study by researchers from Indiana University and the University of Washington, the fewer hours an employee slept, the lower their boss ranked the relationship between the two. Also, the less sleep a boss got, the lower their employee ranked the relationship quality. The study asked 86 pairs of employees and bosses about their sleep duration the night before, and their relationship with subordinates and superiors, among other factors.  It found that the number of hours employees sleep might affect how well they get along with their bosses. Now, you may want to ask, how exactly does sleep deprivation affect the relationship between you and your boss? 

Less Sleep Has Several Effects On You:

1. Sleep deprivation makes you become insensitive to the emotions of your boss and others.

A study published in Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms found that sleep-deprived people were worse at reading others’ emotions compared with those who slept as much as they needed to. It means that as an employee if you don’t get enough sleep you weaken your ability to recognize happiness and sadness in your others. When this happens, you may find it difficult to maintain a fluid working relationship with your boss. But by catching up on sleep, the study found that the same subjects are better able to recognize happiness and sadness in others.

Tip: Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep.

2. Less sleep reduces your ability to suppress negative emotions

Sleep deprivation makes you emotionally unconnected to others. But it doesn’t end there.  It reduces your ability to suppress negative emotions such as hostility. Simply put, you become hostile. This is according to a research published in Organizational Psychology ReviewThe study found that hostility induced by insufficient sleep affects professional relationship quality. This means that being unkind to your boss or subordinates will, in turn, sour their perception of you. Stacy from our story above could have been more patient; less defensive; and less irritable if she had gotten enough sleep.

Tip: The more restful your sleep the more likely you’re to be happy and peaceful the morning after.

3. Sleep deprivation affects your work performance

Nothing gets you kicked out of your job faster than consistent underperformance. That’s a no-brainer. The real issue is what has less sleep got to do with work performance?


A study found that not getting enough sleep is linked to poor work performance. According to the study which was focused on managers, if you’re unproductive as a boss you’re likely to impact negatively on your employees. This has become the rampant as the  National Sleep Foundation found that employees tend to work outside of office hours just to keep up with their workload, which in turn affects their sleep. That’s not all. Employees who don’t get enough sleep run a higher risk of coming down with avoidable illnesses, which affects their work performance. From fatigue even at the start of a workday to fever and colds that can make you miss work entirely.

Tip: brush up your sleep habits.

How To Get A Good Night Sleep

Quality sleep will keep you performing your best and make you less likely to lose your job to factors linked to sleep deprivation.

So you need to learn how to get a good night sleep. It is essential for your optimal health and performance. To get good sleep at night you need to make a few lifestyle changes.

  • Maintain a sleep scheduleLike you do with your job, you should keep a sleep-wake schedule as religiously as possible. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day to help set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. It is recommended that you maintain this schedule even on the weekends.
  • Exercise dailyPart of the health benefits of exercise is quality sleep.  The more intense your exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise such as walking for just 10 minutes a day improves sleep quality.
  • Mind what you eat and drinkYou might want to watch what you eat f you’re having trouble getting quality sleep.

Ideally, you should…

  • Control your caffeine and nicotine intake.
  • Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs.
  • Skip big meals at night.
  • Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening.
  • And take little or no alcohol before bed.

Declutter and improve your sleep environment: Most people sleep better in a slightly cool room.

In addition, it is best practice to not watch tv, use your computer or work on the bed. If you work from home or are looking for a remote job, it’s advisable to avoid working in the bedroom. Keep it dressed and attractive at all times. And make sure your bed is comfortable with the ideal firmness that makes for quality sleep.  


In conclusion, although Stacy’s story is fictional, the underlying facts it explains aren’t. Most of all, you are likely to become more sensitive, less hostile, less irritable and perform better at work if you’re getting enough sleep than when you’re not, according to various scientific studies. So you have to do all you can to get the best sleep even if it means changing your bed. You may just be helping yourself get along with your boss and keep your job.