Many employees not getting enough sleep — and it’s affecting job performance
It’s because they’re stressed out about their jobs.
A new Consumer Reports study said almost 60 percent of subscribers surveyed had trouble falling or staying asleep or woke up feeling tired at least three times a week. The top reason cited (47 percent) for getting inadequate sleep among those who worked was job-related stress. Other reasons cited for tossing and turning were health (28 percent) and financial concerns (22 percent).
Unemployed respondents were more likely to have sleep problems than those with jobs — 69 percent vs. 59 percent, respectively. Trouble staying asleep was the most common problem, with 57 percent noting this problem. Women and obese people were more likley to have sleep problems.
About a third of problem sleepers said they snored loudly and 77 percent of those said they work up feeling tired three times a week, symptoms of sleep apnea. However, only 16 percent had received a diagnosis of apnea or used a CPAP mask, the treatment typically prescribed for the disorder.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has a prevalence of 5-15 percent and is manifested by snoring, shallow breathing or a cessation of breathing during sleep, and it leads to a disruption of sleep. It is caused by an obstruction of the upper airway by excessive tissues in the nose and/or throat. While it is more common in men, the obese and the elderly, it can be seen in anyone.
Sleep apnea can contribute to poor job performance, cognitive difficulties, irritability, depression, hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, cardiac rhythm disturbances and sudden death. While sleep loss for some people is tiresome, for those with sleep apnea, it can be dangerous or even life threatening and should never be ignored.
The Consumer Report study said 40 percent of respondents had tried prescription sleep drugs and 30 percent had used over-the-counter sleep aids, with prescription drugs working best. Half of both users mentioned side effects such as next-day drowsiness.
Consumer Report also asked the 8,900 good sleepers what they did to help them maintain good sleep habbits. They reported exercising during the day, unwinding for a half hour before going to bed, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day and having sex before sleeping.
Other tips to aide in getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine and alcohol several hours before bedtime, using the right mattress and pillow and not allowing pets in the bed (they tend to move around at night and interrupt sleep).
Getting enough sleep is not a luxury. Losing just 1.5 hours of sleep in one night reduces daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent, significantly impacting quality of life, safety and job performance. To help them relax to prepare for bedtime, encourage employees to take advantage of resources such as Optima Health’s free 20-minute guided meditation. You can download and listen to these CDs online or request your free copy by calling 1-800-SENTARA (736-8272). You may also get more information by calling 1-800-SENTARA.