If you have found yourself dragging during the day, the solution probably seems simple — just get more rest. Of course, we all have busy schedules, and changing up a routine can sometimes feel like more trouble than it’s worth. But according to a new study, you need less than one additional hour of sleep per night to jumpstart your overall functionality at work.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco Human Performance Center tested whether the reaction time of professional baseball players in the MLB would improve if they got more sleep.
Over the course of a four-week training camp, 17 players got two nights of their regular amount of sleep. Then the members of that group were randomly selected to have either five nights of extended sleep or five nights of their habitual amount of sleep.
The players in the first group went from getting 6.3 hours a night to 6.9 hours. Even though it may not seem like 36 minutes would make that much of a difference, it had some significant positive effects. The researchers found that the players’ daytime sleepiness, fatigue and tension decreased by more than one-third with the longer duration of sleep.
More specifically, when those more rested players took a cognitive processing speed test, they reacted 122 milliseconds faster — an improvement of 13 percent. They were also tested on their ability to pay attention when faced with distracting elements. The players who got the sleep extension responded 66 milliseconds faster than with their normal amount of sleep.
Baseball players have to carefully monitor balls moving at more than 90 miles per hour. Whether you’re working in an office or pitching an investor, you have to make sure you don’t misspell an email to a client or draw a blank on the answer to a question about your company. Give this sleep extension thing a shot — the results might surprise you.