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You’re a Bad Leader When You’re Underslept

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You’re a Bad Leader When You’re Underslept

Rise Science,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Don’t sacrifice your sleep to work more. Instead, sleep more to be a better leader.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


Have you ever said, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” to make excuses for working late? Well, you won’t necessarily die, just yet, from sleep deprivation, but your performance and leadership skills certainly suffer tremendously when you don’t get enough sleep. According to research, 42% of leaders get only six hours of sleep at night, or even less, when most adults need seven to nine hours. This article from Rise Science explores the consequences of sleep deprivation, and provides science-backed suggestions on how you can get more sleep.


A lack of sleep negatively affects your work, while simultaneously dampening your ability to accurately assess your performance.

A lack of sleep hurts your work performance – particularly if you’re in a leadership position. Many people think they function just fine, even when they haven’t slept well or long enough, but that perception is probably the result of an underperforming prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is home to cognitive processes like planning, enacting plans, organizing, problem-solving and suppressing unwanted behavior. It’s hard to assess your performance accurately when your executive function is impaired.

Sleep also determines the quality of social skills, including recognizing other people’s emotions, empathizing, regulating facial expressions and tone of voice, and providing encouragement and support. Research even suggests that after one night of poor sleep, bosses are more likely to exhibit abusive behavior.

High-quality sleep is vital for leadership...

About the Author

Rise Science is an energy-management app that employs 100 years of sleep science to help users get better sleep. The Rise blog covers sleep debt, sleep inertia, sleep hygiene, circadian rhythms, natural energy and other health topics.

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