Fatigue in the workplace can mean much more than watching the clock and waiting for home time. Over the course of history, sleep deprived workers have contributed to several disastrous accidents including Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Exxon Valdez. But which sector of workers get the poorest sleep because of their career, and what can be done to reduce sleep fatigue in the workplace?
Which is the Most Sleep Deprived Job?
According to Total Jobs, the most sleep deprived jobs include:
- Hospital Staff
- Investment Bankers
- Bin Men
- Emergency Service Workers
Typically, people in these occupations suffer from sleep deprivation because of Long Hours, Irregular Shift Patterns/ On-Call Work and Early Starts.
Conversely, the least sleep deprived employees tend are:
- Logging Workers
- Sales Reps
These lucky folks clock an average of 7 hours and 20 minutes sleep every night! However even these occupations didn’t achieve the optimal 8 hours of sleep per night in the study.
8/10 UK Workers Are Sleep Deprived
9.9 million working days were lost to stress, anxiety and depression in 2014/15, according to this study. This works out on average at 23 days per case.
These figures are astonishing and need to be addressed. Of course work problems can lead to mild stress but if you find that work is causing you to take time off work and is seriously damaging your health then you must speak to your employer, HR Manager or local GP.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift Work Sleep Disorder is a condition which occurs when your work schedule and biological clock are out of sync.
Some of the most serious and persistent problems shift workers face are frequent sleep disturbance and associated excessive sleepiness … The issue becomes more alarming when you consider that shift workers are often employed in the most dangerous of jobs such as firefighting, emergency medical services, law enforcement and security
– National Sleep Foundation
Sleep expert Derk-Jan Dijk estimates that shift workers get an average of 90 minutes less sleep each night when compared to those who work normal working hours and attempt to sleep at night.
You many think that this is only relevant to those who work in bars or different shifts each week but simply working extra hours of an evening or starting earlier in the morning can cause this sleep condition.
If you’re a shift worker and are having a hard time getting to sleep, consider how you can optimise your sleeping environment for some good quality rest. Make sure you have blackout blinds if you are trying to sleep during the day, and ensure that your mattress is supporting and comforting you properly. If you think your bed is past its best, click here and take a look at our range of luxurious and affordable memory foam mattresses – all made right here in the UK.
Tips For Staying Alert at Work
1. Turn The Lights On
Dim lighting is one of the main factors influencing employee tiredness. When we are exposed to low levels of light, our brain sends signals to the body, promoting the secretion of melatonin and inhibiting the secretion of serotonin. This alteration of our hormone levels causes us to feel lethargic. To overcome this, flick on the lights or ask your employer for a desk lamp which you can turn on when you begin to feel your eyelids getting heavier.
2. Get The Temperature Right
When it’s chilly outside, we have a tendency to crank up the thermostat. Unfortunately, a hot working environment is a false friend, encouraging us to feel sleepy and affecting our concentration. To avoid this, keep the office feeling cool and fresh by opening a window.
3. Take Breaks
You don’t need to be a martyr at work, you are allowed to take breaks. Working constantly through breaks can cause you to lose concentration and become sleepy. Take 5 minutes and get some fresh air. If you can’t leave the building then just walk around the office, movement will encourage your body to wake up and will also give time for your muscles to stretch. When you return from your break you will feel a boost of energy and you never know you may even finish your task that little bit quicker!
4. Introduce Some Variety
Repetitive tasks can become monotonous and cause us to drift off to sleep. So, to keep the brain stimulated and alert, try and inject the day with something fresh and exciting.
If you think that you might be suffering from sleep deprivation, click here to see the 10 most common symptoms. Then then head over to NHS Choices website to find local services and support in your area. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to ease the symptoms of sleep deprivation and we’re confident that you’ll be sleeping well soon. 😴