Tiredness poses a real problem and ensuring that employees turn up for work energized and alert is a joint responsibility and a smart business strategy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared insufficient sleep a ‘public health problem’, with more than one-third of American adults not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
Sleep deprivation comes with a higher mortality rate, in addition to lost productivity at work and even being unable to stay awake during the day. The recommendation is that each of us should get seven to nine hours sleep a night however many people are only sleeping for five to six hours.
The Rand Corporation has found that on an annual basis, the U.S. loses an equivalent of around 1.2 million working days due to insufficient sleep. In addition, sacrificing sleep means that you are more likely to succumb to colds and flu, weight gain, and heart disease.
Who is impacted the most? The National Safety Council and CDC reported that shift workers were particularly affected with 62 percent of night workers experiencing sleep loss. The following five occupation groups felt the biggest brunt:
1. Production (42.9%)
2. Healthcare support (40.1%)
3. Healthcare practitioners and technical (40.0%)
4. Food preparation and serving-related (39.8%)
5. Protective service (39.2%)
What can employers do to support employees, promote better sleep habits, and help them to perform better at work?
1. Recognize the importance of sleep and the symptoms of lack of sleep. Impairment can be a safety issue.
2. Education. Provide training from sleep experts who will often deliver a free lunch-and-learn program on how employees can develop a consistent sleep habit. Display posters and materials on how to promote better sleep habits.
3. Consider a buddy system at work to encourage a co-worker to take a break.
4. Offer flexible work hours. This may be beneficial for employees who have a long traffic-jam commute.
5. Limit after-hours work commitments and time spent working on computers to reduce the impact of blue light.Tiredness poses a real problem and ensuring that employees turn up for work energized and alert is a joint responsibility and a smart business strategy.