DiscoverThe Matt Walker Podcast#75 - The Business of Sleep With Dr. Chris Barnes
#75 - The Business of Sleep With Dr. Chris Barnes

#75 - The Business of Sleep With Dr. Chris Barnes

Update: 2024-06-032
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This podcast episode delves into the multifaceted impact of sleep on businesses and corporations, moving beyond the individual level to explore how sleep deprivation in leaders can have far-reaching consequences. The episode begins by discussing how a lack of sleep in leaders can lead to increased abusive supervision, negatively impacting employee engagement. The conversation then shifts to the relationship between sleep and charisma, highlighting how sleep deprivation can diminish a leader's ability to inspire and foster positive relationships with subordinates. The episode further explores the concept of organizational citizenship behavior, emphasizing how sleep-deprived employees are less likely to engage in extra-role behaviors that benefit the organization. The episode then delves into the financial implications of sleep deprivation, citing a Rand Corporation report that estimates the cost of sleep deprivation to the US economy at $411 billion per year due to lost productivity. The episode concludes with practical advice for business leaders on how to improve sleep in the workplace, including promoting a sleep-friendly culture, implementing flex time, and providing access to sleep resources.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the podcast episode and welcomes back Dr. Chris Barnes, a leading expert on sleep and its impact on the workplace. The episode shifts focus from the individual employee to the broader impact of sleep on businesses and corporations.

00:01:55
Sleep's Impact on Leaders and Organizations

This Chapter explores how sleep deprivation in leaders can negatively affect their behavior and impact the organization as a whole. The episode discusses research findings that show a link between leader sleep deprivation and increased abusive supervision, leading to decreased employee engagement. The chapter also examines the relationship between sleep and charisma, highlighting how sleep deprivation can diminish a leader's ability to inspire and foster positive relationships with subordinates.

00:08:50
Sleep and Charisma

This Chapter delves deeper into the relationship between sleep and charisma, exploring research that demonstrates how sleep deprivation can negatively impact a leader's ability to inspire and influence subordinates. The episode discusses a study where sleep-deprived leaders were perceived as less charismatic by third-party evaluators, highlighting the importance of sleep for effective leadership.

00:19:02
Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Sleep

This Chapter introduces the concept of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), which refers to behaviors that go beyond an employee's job description and contribute to the overall well-being of the organization. The episode discusses research findings that show a link between sleep deprivation and decreased OCB, highlighting the importance of sleep for fostering a positive and productive work environment.

00:24:39
Sleep and Safety Errors

This Chapter explores the link between sleep deprivation and safety errors in the workplace. The episode discusses research findings that show a correlation between sleep deprivation and increased accidents and injuries, particularly in industries where danger is inherent. The chapter also highlights the financial implications of safety errors, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing sleep for workplace safety.

00:30:06
The 24-Hour Framework: Work, Non-Work, and Sleep

This Chapter introduces a framework for understanding the interconnectedness of work, non-work, and sleep. The episode emphasizes that sleep influences energy and mood, which in turn impact work performance and interactions with family. The chapter highlights the importance of considering the full 24-hour cycle when addressing sleep issues in the workplace.

00:34:15
Quantifying the Impact of Sleep on Businesses

This Chapter explores the challenges and strategies for quantifying the impact of sleep on businesses. The episode discusses the difficulty of conducting randomized controlled trials to measure the direct impact of sleep on company performance. The chapter then explores the use of bottom-up estimates, such as those from the Rand Corporation report, which estimated the cost of sleep deprivation to the US economy at $411 billion per year due to lost productivity.

00:52:04
Sleep and Government

This Chapter examines the impact of sleep on government structures, particularly in relation to voter turnout and decision-making. The episode discusses research findings that show a link between sleep deprivation and decreased voter turnout, highlighting the importance of sleep for civic engagement and democratic processes.

Keywords

Sleep Deprivation
A state of insufficient sleep, characterized by a lack of adequate sleep duration or quality. It can have significant negative impacts on physical and mental health, cognitive function, and overall well-being.

Abusive Supervision
A form of workplace mistreatment characterized by a leader's hostile, demeaning, or aggressive behavior towards subordinates. It can have detrimental effects on employee morale, job satisfaction, and productivity.

Charisma
A personal quality that inspires confidence, admiration, and loyalty in others. It is often associated with strong leadership, communication skills, and the ability to connect with people on an emotional level.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)
Behaviors that go beyond an employee's job description and contribute to the overall well-being of the organization. Examples include helping colleagues, volunteering for extra tasks, and promoting a positive work environment.

Rand Corporation
A non-profit research organization that provides analysis and solutions to public policy challenges. The Rand Corporation has conducted extensive research on the economic impact of sleep deprivation.

Flex Time
A work schedule that allows employees to adjust their start and end times, providing flexibility to accommodate personal needs and preferences. It can improve employee satisfaction, reduce work-life conflict, and enhance productivity.

Chronotype
An individual's natural inclination to be active and alert at certain times of day. People can be classified as larks (early risers) or owls (night owls), with varying degrees of preference for morning or evening activity.

Temporal Leadership
A leadership style that involves managing time effectively to accommodate the different chronotypes of team members. It can enhance team creativity and productivity by optimizing work schedules and task assignments.

Voter Turnout
The percentage of eligible voters who participate in an election. It is a key indicator of democratic participation and can be influenced by factors such as sleep deprivation.

Q&A

  • How does sleep deprivation in leaders affect employee engagement?

    Research shows that sleep-deprived leaders are more likely to engage in abusive supervision, which negatively impacts employee engagement. This is because sleep deprivation can impair self-control, leading to impulsive and negative behaviors towards subordinates.

  • What is the relationship between sleep and charisma?

    Sleep deprivation can diminish a leader's charisma. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived leaders are perceived as less charismatic by others, likely due to their reduced ability to display optimism, excitement, and emotional engagement.

  • What is organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and how does sleep affect it?

    OCB refers to behaviors that go beyond an employee's job description and contribute to the organization's well-being. Sleep deprivation can decrease OCB, as employees are less likely to engage in helping behaviors, volunteering for extra tasks, or promoting a positive work environment.

  • What are the financial implications of sleep deprivation for businesses?

    Sleep deprivation can be costly for businesses. A Rand Corporation report estimated that sleep deprivation costs the US economy $411 billion per year due to lost productivity. This figure only accounts for lost workdays and does not include other costs associated with sleep deprivation, such as decreased creativity, poor teamwork, and safety errors.

  • What are some practical steps business leaders can take to improve sleep in the workplace?

    Business leaders can promote a sleep-friendly culture by talking about the benefits of sleep, rewarding employees for prioritizing sleep, and implementing structural changes such as flex time, nap rooms, and sleep-friendly schedules. They can also provide access to sleep resources and implement fatigue risk management systems to address sleep-related safety concerns.

  • How can sleep deprivation affect voter turnout?

    Research suggests that sleep deprivation can decrease voter turnout. Studies have shown that people living on the side of a time zone with less daylight, and therefore less sleep, tend to vote less. This highlights the importance of sleep for civic engagement and democratic processes.

  • What are some key takeaways for business leaders regarding sleep?

    Business leaders should recognize the importance of sleep for employee well-being and organizational success. They should prioritize sleep-friendly policies, provide access to sleep resources, and create a culture that values sleep. By addressing sleep issues, businesses can improve employee engagement, productivity, and overall performance.

Show Notes

Dr. Chris Barnes, renowned Michael G. Foster Endowed Professor of Management at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington, returns to the podcast today to continue his discussion with Matt regarding sleep's impact on business productivity. 

This time around, Dr. Barnes shares research indicating that sleep-deprived leaders exhibit abusive supervision, reducing employee engagement and productivity. Exploring sleep's broader implications on corporate culture and economic performance, he introduces the WNS (Work, Non-Work, Sleep) framework, and advocates for flexible schedules and on-site daycare to support employee well-being. He also goes on to highlight a Rand Corporation study that reveals sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy $411 billion annually. 

Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.

Are sleep troubles keeping you up at night? Matt used to be a skeptic about meditation, but 7 years ago, he tried it using a fantastic meditation app called ‘Calm’, and it transformed his sleep!  He’s also partnered with Calm who have been generous enough to offer his podcast listeners an exclusive 40% discount on their premium subscription! All you have to do is go to calm.com/mattwalker and take advantage of this incredible deal! 

The good people at InsideTracker are one of the sponsors of this week's episode, and they are generously offering a special 25% off any one of their programs for anyone who uses the above link during the time window of this episode. InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.

Another sponsor this week is the biochemical electrolyte drink company LMNT, and they are very kindly offering eight free sample packs when you purchase any one of their orders at drinklmnt.com/mattwalker. LMNT is an electrolyte sports drink that I can get behind - it's created from the basis of science, and it has no sugar, no coloring, and no artificial ingredients – all qualities that are so important to maintaining your blood biochemical balance. If you want to give LMNT a try, just head on over to drinklmnt.com/mattwalker and get your eight free samples with your first purchase. 

Links:

Dr. Barnes on X:  @chris24barnes

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#75 - The Business of Sleep With Dr. Chris Barnes

#75 - The Business of Sleep With Dr. Chris Barnes

Dr. Matt Walker