Caught Nodding Off at Work? You're Not Alone!
A typical Thursday-Friday combo for me is this: work until midnight Thursday, get home at 12:30am Friday, wired, and unable to fall asleep until around 2:00 am. Cue the alarm at 7:15 am Friday morning, struggle mightily to wake up and get ready for work again. Drive 35 minutes down a featureless, flat stretch of highway trying to suppress yawns and hope that the blinding sunlight and unyielding bleak landscape will not lull me to sleep.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Probably, if you are one of the estimated 41 million Americans who head to work in a sleep deprived state.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released a new report which says that 30% of the American civilian workforce gets less than 6 hours of sleep each night. The upshot of this data is that these sleepy American workers pose a greater risk on the job to both themselves and their coworkers. For example, an estimated 20% of vehicle crashes are associated with drowsy driving. Over 4000 work-related deaths were reported in 2010.
Certain sectors of the workforce seem to suffer more from insufficient sleep than others. People who are employed in the manufacturing sector, health care and transportation/warehousing are more likely to report short sleep duration. In addition, people who work more than one job, and over 40 hours weekly also reported shorter sleep durations. Shorter sleep durations are also associated with widowed/divorced/separated persons and people who have high school diplomas and community college educations.
A lack of consistent sleep has global implications on a person's health as well. Lack of sleep is associated with increases in body weight and an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Add to that the inability to concentrate and decreased short-term memory function, and it's easy to see how a lack of sleep is associated with decreased productivity in the workplace.
Image courtesy of Mike DelGaudi