Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Lack of Sleep Affects Job Performance

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Lack of Sleep Affects Job Performance

Article excerpt

A new poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) confirms what most busy Americans know, yet few seem to correct: While we may be aware of the importance of adequate sleep to performance and well-being, we're still not prepared to do much about it.

Sleep experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep a night for adults to function properly, yet NSF's 2000 Sleep in America omnibus poll found that one-third of American adults (33 percent) sleep only 6.5 hours or less nightly during the work week. Additionally, 45 percent of adults agree that they will sleep less to accomplish more.

Americans now work the longest hours of any industrialized nation in the world, according to a recent study by the International Labour Organization. As we work longer hours to get more done, however, individual productivity levels are suffering due to sleepiness. This is of particular concern to workers in manufacturing jobs.

Not surprisingly, NSF's poll shows that shift workers are hardest hit by problems associated with sleepiness. As shift workers struggle to turn night into day and try to be alert when their brains are naturally inclined to sleep, they pay the price: Nearly two-thirds report problems sleeping. Twenty-nine percent of shift workers (vs. 17 percent of regular day workers) report being so sleepy a few days a week or more that it interferes with their daily activities.

"Workers are not the only ones suffering the consequences of sleepiness on the job," said Richard Gelula, NSF executive director. …

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