Nearly half of Americans report that they get such little sleep (or such poor quality sleep) that they consider themselves too fatigued to function safely at work. Those with a sleep disorder, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, or Insomnia, find it even more difficult to get and sustain quality sleep. At The Insomnia and Sleep Institute of Arizona, our team of sleep specialists concentrates exclusively on sleep medicine—which is why we are recognized as the “Face of Sleep Medicine” in Phoenix, Arizona. With unparalleled staffing levels, patients get access to three sleep specialists, a physician assistant with a Masters in Sleep, a clinical psychologist that focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, and much more.
The National Safety Council reports that 43 percent of Americans self-report that they don’t feel fully capable of functioning at work due to poor sleep. Functioning at work was defined in the survey as being able to navigate risks that could jeopardize safety both in the workplace and while driving. Additionally, functioning includes the ability to think clearly, make informed decisions, and simply be productive. Of those surveyed, 91 percent stated that they also have jobs with high fatigue risk rates, such as being physically demanding or requiring to drive for a living. An astounding 97 percent of respondents reported a minimum of one risk factor for fatigue, which led the National Safety Council to declare fatigue a hidden but deadly epidemic.
What are Fatigue Risks?
When a person does not get enough sleep—and, specifically, high-quality sleep—fatigue occurs. The survey included nine risk factors for fatigue, including working the graveyard shirt or very early in the morning, working for long stretches without breaks, long commutes, and working 50+ hours per week. Although many people are working from home right now, which makes long commutes moot, the reality is that working from home for a lot of people doesn’t automatically equate to working less. Zoom fatigue is very real, and it’s not uncommon for some employers and managers to require workers to be “on call” of sorts around the clock (please note that this may not abide by the labor laws of your state).
According to respondents to this particular survey, 53 percent said that they don’t feel productive at work. Over two-thirds, 76 percent, reported that they felt tired at work on a routine basis. Additionally, 44 percent said they struggled to focus at work. When workers are fatigued, mistakes are more likely to happen. These mistakes could be small, such as sending an email full of typos, but they could also be serious and even deadly. Sleep matters, as does the quality of sleep. If you’re not getting the sleep your body needs, you’re not giving your best during your waking hours and could potentially hurt yourself or someone else. The researchers behind the study stress that a person who typically sleeps eight hours but suddenly only gets six can be as impaired as a person who drank three beers. It is estimated that about 13 percent of injuries in the workplace are related to fatigue, as is 21 percent of fatal car crashes that cause about 6,400 casualties every year.
The Importance of Sleep: Treating Sleep Disorders
Everyone has poor quality sleep or trouble falling/staying asleep from time to time. However, if you have a sleep disorder, this occurs on a routine basis. When you lack quality sleep for a long time and it becomes chronic, the co-morbidities associated with poor sleep can become apparent. Some of the most common co-morbidities of a sleep disorder include heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, type 2 diabetes, and of course a decreased quality of life and increased risk of accidents.
The particular study overviewed today specifically addressed work, but bear in mind that fatigue, sleep disorders, and poor-quality sleep will also negatively impact your personal life—including your relationships. In total, 39 percent of survey respondents said they had trouble remembering things at work, and that poor memory will certainly also exist when you clock out.
The Insomnia and Sleep Institute is driven by outcomes, which starts with a correct diagnosis. Virtual consultations are currently available so that you can get started on the journey towards identifying and treating sleep disorders quickly, safely, and comfortably. Fill out the online contact form today to get started.
Source: National Safety Council Report