Donna Shalala, Former HHR Secretary, Told Employees To Get More Sleep

Sep 13, 2013 | Updated Sep 13, 2013

In our 24/7 work culture, sleep deprivation is often worn as a badge of honor: Employees answer emails at all hours, managers send out notes in the middle of the night, and successful leaders boast about their ability to run on just four hours of shuteye. But in the department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, employees were actively encouraged to get proper rest.

Donna Shalala, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years during the Clinton administration and is now the president of the University of Miami, has said that she discouraged sleep deprivation among her staff.

"When I was Secretary of HHS, I used to tell my staff, 'President Clinton hired us for our judgment, not our stamina,'" Shalala told The Huffington Post.

And skimping on shuteye does significantly affect our judgment: One 1999 study suggested that just 24 hours of sleep loss can impair innovative thinking and flexible decision-making. Getting a good night's sleep -- the CDC recommends seven to nine hours per night for adults -- not only fosters greater innovation and better decision-making, but can also also boost mood, productivity, cognitive functioning and physical health.

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