Lack of Sleep Leads to Unethical Conduct
People who cheated in an experiment had slept an average of 22.39 minutes less the night before than non-cheaters, according to research led by Christopher M. Barnes of Virginia Tech. The study, in which cheaters over reported their scores on a test in order to gain financial advantage, shows that low levels of sleep are associated with unethical behavior. Managers who demand results that require employees to stay up late and miss sleep may be increasing the likelihood that workers will fudge results and engage in other forms of cheating, the researchers suggest.
(Insert sarcasm here.) Seriously?! Lose a half-hour of sleep and get branded a cheater. I wonder what happens if you lose sleep and get offered $8,000. Can you imagine the ethics violations that might surface?
The truth is sleep is important. It helps us remain healthy and alert. Being deprived of sleep will impact our disposition and ability to function. The study above implies it will cloud our judgment.
I wanted to share the stat with you because I believe ethics is such an important topic. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure an appropriate ethical standard is maintained in our organizations. One way we can do that is by understanding what things can potentially trigger unethical behavior.
Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, wrote a great post about the importance of sleep including a few tips to get better sleep. It’s a great read and you can check it out here. Or, you can just read a few more of my posts to lull you to sleep. HA!
If lack of sleep contributes to unethical behavior, it only seems logical that getting good sleep helps us to be better. I’m curious. How do you make sure that you sleep well?
Image courtesy of jorel3141