These blinks are about the importance of a basic human necessity that we often brush aside: sleep. Getting enough sleep isn’t just about feeling better in the morning – it improves your work performance, health and even your personal relationships. Similarly, sleep deprivation isn’t a by-product of hard work; rather, it prevents you from reaching your full potential. The Sleep Revolution (2016) explains why sleep is so critical, and what you can do to get more of it.
This is a Blinkist staff pick
“These blinks are a sobering exploration of the dangers of sleep deprivation and workaholism. They’re especially poignant today, where our studies and careers seem to demand more and more work and less and less sleep. I loved the tip about putting all screens away by 9 p.m. every night.”
– Clare, Editorial Quality Lead at Blinkist
Sarvshreshth Gupta, a 22-year-old analyst at Goldman Sachs, hadn’t slept for two consecutive nights when he called his father from his office cubicle at 2:40 a.m. one night. Although Gupta’s father tried to calm him down, Sarvshreshth was found dead on the pavement outside his high-rise apartment building just a few hours later. He jumped to his death, no longer able to bear the pressure of work.
Like Gupta, Americans today are suffering from sleep deprivation because of compulsive working, or workaholism.
Workaholism is on the rise. Between 1990 and 2000, the average annual American workload increased by a full workweek. In 2014, when a travel company called Skift conducted a survey to figure out why so few people were booking their holiday packages, they found that over 40 percent of the American workforce hadn’t taken a single vacation day that year.
This unhealthy culture of workaholism prevents us from getting enough sleep. In fact, according to a 2010 US government report, 30 percent of all employees get less than six hours of sleep per night, while nearly 70 percent describe their sleep as “insufficient.”
And who suffers the most? The working poor.
Lower-class workers often have to take on several jobs just to pay their bills, so they don’t have time to make sleep a priority. A 2013 survey from the University of Chicago found that a person’s quality of sleep decreases as their wealth decreases, which causes sleepiness and can even lead to sleep-related diseases.
Being overworked isn’t the only problem for the poor, either. A professor at Stony Brook University found that poor neighborhoods also tend to be noisier, which makes it even harder to get a good night’s sleep.