Organisational Change Management Volume 2

22. Sleep (includes light)

. S
leep is inherently dangerous due to loss of alertness. thus, we are wired to sort out sounds as we sleep so that we can differentiate threats from the benign noises.
. Adequate sleep plays a pivotal role in underpinning all these factors that impact upon competitiveness in a modern society, such as promoting learning, concentration, imagination and creativity; sharpening problem-solving and accuracy; consolidating memory; improving mood and reaction time

. Sleep is like food, ie an essential factor in wellbeing. It is more about resting the mind than the body.

. In general, adults need around 8 hours of sleep per night as the human brain is only capable of around 16 hours of wakefulness; otherwise cognitive performance declines, ie

"...your reaction speed, short-term and long-term memory, ability to focus, decision-making capacity, math processing, cognitive speed, and spatial orientation all start to suffer......Cutback sleep......and the accumulated sleep deficit magnifies these negative effects..."

Charles Czeisler, 2006

. Research on American police officers (Alexandra Roginski, 2012) showed that a high number (40%) of police officers suffered sleep disorders that arose from a combination of

- lifestyle (poor diet and exercise)

- job-related stresses

- shift work factors

. More detail on "slumber blunders" from police study

Performance indicator

Percentage of increased risk for persons with sleep disorder (%)

Serious administrative error


Falling asleep while driving


Error or safety violation attributed to fatigue


Error or safety violation not attributed to fatigue


Occupational injury


Uncontrolled anger towards suspects or citizen




Falling asleep during meetings


Falling asleep while stopped in traffic


Citizens' complaints


They are also more than twice as likely to suffer from depression

. Sleep loss and sleep disturbance show a complex and bi-directional relationship with mood, ie

"...Sleep loss impairs your ability to regulate mood, and mood disturbances in turn may have an adverse impact on sleep...... Disrupting the body's biological clock exposes.....the risk of many different things. It upsets the natural physiology of the body..."

Shantha Rajaratnam as quoted by Alexandra Roginski, 2012

. Previously it was thought that people like doctors became immune to the negative impacts of sleep deprivation and shift work owing to their gruelling medical training. Recent research has debunked this myth.

In 2017 around 40% of Australians experience some form of inadequate sleep, with the total cost estimated to be around $A 67 b. annually.

"...Good sleep is important for health..." 

Evelyn Lewin, 2018 

It is the foundation of health, ie 

"... If you can correct your sleep habits, you will more likely eat well and exercise..." 

Wayne Hollows as quoted by Sally Patten, 2018 

Generally people are feeling more tiredness and are blaming lack of sleep for this. Other factors like eating habits, exercise routines, mental health, etc could be involved. 

"...The culture in the business world is, if you're not keeping up, you go harder. But there's research showing the way to "go harder" and make better decisions is to pull back a bit..." 

David Cunnington as quoted by Evelyn Lewin, 2018 

Research has shown 

"... People who haven't had enough sleep tended to see people as more hostile and are more likely to behave in hostile ways themselves. It also found that they aren't aware of this effect and may harm relationships without realising..." 

Evelyn Lewin, 2018 

With the pressure to perform, sleep is now being realised as pivotal to achieving this. 

The ideal situation is 

"...Go to bed earlier and aim for eight hours sleep, take rest breaks every 60 to 90 minutes during the day, readily practise relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing and avoid caffeine after 2 pm..." 

Wayne Hollows as quoted by Sally Patten, 2018 

Some research shows that workplace performance can increase by around 50% if you get a good night's sleep

Some questions to ask about your sleep: 

- are you waking early in the morning and unable to get back to sleep?

- is your day busy with no downtime?

- are there stresses and worries that you haven't adequately addressed?

- are you expecting more sleep than normal for your age (older adults need less sleep)?

- are there health issues you suffer from and/or medications you are taking that can impact on your sleep patterns?

- do you need an alarm to wake you in the morning? 
If so regularly, then you need more sleep 

Sleep problems are common to depression, such as feeling sleepy throughout the day, sleeping for long periods at night, insomnia (trouble getting to sleep or staying awake)


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