A recent study has suggested that offices in Britain are full
with tired workers, with the stress of work taking a big toll on
their personal lives, it has been reported by the Guardian.
The findings emerged after a study which polled 38,784 staff
working in the UK for companies such as O2, Quintiles and
Medtronic, finding that a third of British workers suffer from poor
sleep. Although this is usually defined as less than seven hours,
the research shows that many workers are getting five hours or less
Chief among the reasons for a poor night's slumber was stress,
with many employees finding it difficult to leave their work in the
office. The increasing trend of bring-your-own-device to work means
that many employees enter and leave the office with their working
space with them. This means many people taking their work home with
them, and work much longer hours.
The results showed that a third of employees were unhappy with the
quality of their sleep, with 8.4 per cent saying they were 'very
unhappy' with it and another 24.4 per cent describing themselves as
'unhappy'. Many of the employees surveyed said they rarely felt
refreshed after waking up, with over half saying that they still
felt sleepy 30 minutes after getting out of bed.
Tony Massey, medical director of Vielife, the health and
productivity firm that carried out the assessments between 2009 and
2011, told the Guardian: "This research is telling us that a large
number of working adults, one in three in the UK, has a sleeping
"A very concerning number of British workers get too little
A WebMD.com article documented the consequences of sleepless
nights on our work performance. On top of the list was alertness
and attentiveness, which suffers dearly if the mind isn't properly
rested. Research has shown that dropping night time sleep by only
1.5 hours a night can lead to daytime alertness being reduced by 32
per cent. Considering that many of the employees polled in the
Vielife study got less than eight hours a night, this could be
costing companies and the economy as a whole a significant amount
of money through productivity losses.
The economic implications were reiterated by Mr Massey, who said:
"Organisations that have employees that sleep better perform better
in the marketplace. Staff who sleep badly say they don't feel good,
can nod off at their desk, have trouble concentrating, and are more
prone to viruses and infections."
However, this isn't just a matter of grogginess and restlessness
at work, the problems could in fact have severe health impacts. At
least half of the employees questioned are facing sleep
difficulties so acute that their GP could diagnose them with a
sleep disorder. Mr Massey began the study expecting to find around
one in ten workers in such conditions, but he said: "This
widespread lack of sleep is beyond what I'd imagined."
Britain is becoming one of the worst cases around the world,
ranking towards the top of Vielife's international league table for
lack of sleep. A similar study in America of 116,452 staff found
that 23.4 per cent scored poorly for sleep.
In order to reverse this trend, employees and employers can
highlight the importance of 'sleep hygiene'. This is a list of
things that people can do in order to keep as healthy at night they
are in the day.
On top of the list is the bedroom. It is important that the
bedroom is maintained as a sleep-centric place, with activities
such as watching television, drinking and working all confined to
the downstairs of the house. Additionally, a good mattress and
dark, noise-free conditions will create a sleep environment,
allowing the mind to shut off more readily.
Mr Massey says sleep hygiene: "Involves little things that people
can do without professional help, like ensuring your room is dark
and quiet, getting to bed at the same time every night - just like
a two-year-old - reading a book, which is a proven relaxant, and
not looking at bright screens, such as the TV or computer, for an
hour before you go to bed as that will disturb your sleep."
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes