One of the most overlooked occupational hazards is not a machine, chemical or vehicle – it’s sleep deprivation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation, increases the likelihood of a workplace accident by 70%.
The effects of fatigue are similar to the effects of alcohol, resulting in impaired judgment and poor performance.
In North America, 70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night. It is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million of all ages and socioeconomic classes. In fact, the odds of being sleep deprived (less than 6 hours a night for adults) has increased significantly over the past 30 years as the lines between work and home have become blurred and digital technology has firmly become part of our lifestyles.
Did you know that sleep deprivation can be linked to over 72,000 vehicle crashes and over $100 billion in lost productivity each year?
Here are the 10 workplace dangers associated with tired workers:
- Improper Safety Enforcement and Major Injury
- Impaired Motor Skills
- Poor Decision Making and Risk Taking
- Poor Memory and Information Processing
- Falling Asleep on the Job
- The Special Risk for Shift Workers
- Inability to Deal with Stress
- Sleep Deprivation Reduces Productivity
- Sleep Deprivation Impacts Workers in the Long-Term
- Overlooking Signs of Fatigued Workers
Each year, there are more than 40 million people in North America who suffer from sleeping disorders and an additional 20 million have occasional sleeping problems. There are many reasons for sleep deprivation: work, chores, babies, worry, parties or late night television are just a few, but whatever the reason for sleep loss, research has shown that it takes a toll on us both mentally and physically.
As an employer, do your part to reinforce the importance of rest with all your workers and share these common good sleep tips to help reduce the risk that sleep deprivation has on your workplace safety and productivity.
- Keep a regular sleep-wake cycle. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the four to six hours before bedtime.
- Don’t exercise within two hours of bedtime. Exercising five or six hours before bedtime may help you sleep more soundly.
- Don’t eat large meals within two hours of bedtime.
- Don’t nap later than 3 p.m.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet room with a comfortable temperature.
- If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, do a quiet activity somewhere else and return to bed when you’re sleepy.
- Wind down in the 30 minutes before bedtime with a relaxing pre sleep ritual such as a warm bath, soft music, or reading.