“Working ’round the clock”

When a problem needs solving, there isn’t a more common phrase tied to how we should approach it.

The latest example came when Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt publicly proclaimed how Governor Mark Dayton should be working around the clock to fix the rising costs seen in the state’s individual health insurance marketplace.

Regardless of the specific example, what does it say about our values when this line is leveled at another in describing what’s needed to effectively solve a problem? The (not so subtle) undertone of the message is that sleep deprivation and working non-stop is key to productivity and problem-solving.

In fact, research continues to show the opposite is true. Chronic sleep deprivation and non-stop work with minimal breaks dramatically hampers cognition, productivity, creativity, and on and on.

Yet we still see these type of messages in the media and public discourse. Some companies even downplay the importance of sleep in their slogans, as I wrote about before. These messages add up to reinforce powerful societal norms and perceptions, which shape how we value health.

No wonder it’s so hard to change behavior.


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