Meeting professionals who have scheduled an opening keynote too early in the morning, or failed to account for the circadian rhythms of international attendees, know that people who don’t get the sleep they need can be … difficult. But they could also be dead. A new study in the scientific journal Sleep that analyzed the health effects of not getting enough sleep on otherwise healthy people offers a chilling conclusion: “Both short and long duration of sleep are significant predictors of death in prospective population studies.” Or, as The Guardian newspaper puts it, the study “found that those who generally slept for less than six hours a night were 12% more likely to experience a premature death over a period of 25 years than those who consistently got six to eight hours’ sleep.”
For more info about accommodating the circadian rhythms of your attendees, check out this article that Jeanne Martinson wrote for Convene last year. Beyond that, what am I saying? Simply this: Moving your networking breakfast from 7:15 a.m. to, say, 8:30 a.m. and/or moving your opening general session from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. won’t just make your attendees happier. It will also save their lives.
Thanks to Slate for tipping me off to the Guardian article and, by extension, the Sleep study.