The Sleep Works talks to The Training Journal about poor productivity in the workplace due to lack of sleep
New research shows that our economy is suffering because of the poor sleeping habits of our workforces.
Tired employees not getting the sleep they need and being less productive as a result are costing the UK economy tens of billions each year, according to new research published this week.
Designated nap zones in workplaces and offering sleep training to employees are among the measures recommended to deal with a worrying trend of people not getting the rest they should.
Sleep deprivation, which can kill in extreme cases, increases the risk of death by 13 per cent. It is linked with health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, septicaemia and hypertension.
The health impacts on workers not having the right amount of sleep result in Britain losing around 200,000 working days a year, says the report by RAND Europe.
A combination of lower productivity and poorer health among sleep-starved workers is costing the country up to £40 billion a year. The analysis draws on data from more than 62,000 people involved VitalityHealth’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study.
A healthy amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night. But one in three (35 per cent) working Britons are failing to get this. The proportion of workers not having the recommended amount of sleep rises to 45 per cent in the US, and 56 per cent in Japan, while it is lower in Germany (30 per cent) and Canada (26 per cent).
Factors involved in workers becoming sleep deprived include the prevalence of longer working hours and more shift work, as well as the spread of modern communication technology which not only allows people to work longer, but “also provides outlets for distraction and entertainment, possibly chipping away at hours reserved for sleep,” the report says.
Employers should consider “incorporating sleep training within the broader framework of other well-being initiatives which may already be in place,” it suggests.
Maryanne Taylor, Founder and Sleep Consultant, The Sleep Works says: “Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to lower levels of alertness, focus and concentration. This extends to logical reasoning, complex thought process and judgement ability. Making decisions and assessing situations becomes more difficult which impacts on behaviour in certain circumstances.
“Short term memory also impacted by insufficient sleep which affects the ability to perform complex tasks, leading on to simple tasks. Memories are consolidated in our brains when we sleep. Lack of sleep disrupts this so it is difficult to maintain long term memories and learn new skills.”
As an employer, should you be concerned about your employees’ sleep – or lack of it?
After a busy morning in the office, the atmosphere and productivity levels can become somewhat sluggish after lunch. Our sleep guide looks at the factors that cause this, and offers suggestions to help employees improve their afternoon energy levels.
Maryanne established The Sleep Works in 2010. She is a qualified and experienced Sleep Consultant who has helped hundreds of parents with their children’s sleep problems. She also works with adults to educate, support and motivate them to improve their sleep. She gives many talks and workshops on child and adult sleep, has written numerous articles, and has appeared on Channel 4's 'Born Naughty?' show. Find out more about Maryanne and The Sleep Works.