According to the National Sleep Foundation “more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month - with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more”.
A goods nights sleep and the preparation for sleep is as important as preparing for a meeting, warming up before running a half marathon or delivering a major strategy to improve company performance. "As many as 30 percent or more of U.S. adults are not getting enough sleep," says Dr. Twery. PhD, Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. Chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders are estimated to cost the American nation as much as $16 billion in healthcare expenses and $50 billion in lost productivity.
The consequences can be severe. Drowsy driving, for example, is responsible for an estimated 1,500 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries each year. "It's actually quite serious," says Daniel Chapman, PhD., MSc, at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Drowsy driving was implicated in about 16 percent of fatal crashes and about 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization." Dr. Chapman says sleep is as important to health as eating right and getting enough physical activity. Furthermore, research is beginning to attribute the lack of sleep, as with poor diet and lack of physical activity, with weight gain and diabetes.
For adults, the way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while sleeping. During sleep, the body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain physical health. On-going sleep deficiency can raise the risk for some chronic health problems, but it can also affect how well we think, react, work, learn, and interact with others. Therefore, it is realistic to think that poor sleep is going to lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems and controlling emotions, as well as an increase in mistakes which results in re-work and therefore lowered productivity.
Sleep hygiene is one of the essential pillars to good health and personal performance whether you want to excel at sport, at your job or in some other way. Sleep helps the brain function correctly. During sleep the brain is preparing for the next day, by creating pathways to improve learning and remembering. Good sleep also helps us in making decisions, to be focused and creative. When waking in the morning, the mind and body should be ready to face the day, feeling refreshed, energized and alert with no signs of brain fog, heaviness or confusion.
On a physical level, sleep is responsible for repair of body cells as well as effective functioning of the immune system. The immune system defends the body against foreign and harmful microbes and relies on sleep to stay healthy. On-going sleep deficiency may lead to the inability to fight common infections and therefore each time the flu or a cold goes round the work place it affects the same people who have weakened immune function and therefore unable to fight off common infections thus leading to absenteeism in the workplace, due to sickness.
Perhaps this impacts those that drive heavy machinery and work in high-risk areas. By nodding off” they could compromise their own safety and the safety of others, not only causing human injury, but also damage to machinery, and the building itself.
How does the leadership in your organisation coach, educate and counsel those that may be suffering from poor sleep quality or lack of sleep? What systems are in place to enable workers to follow a healthy lifestyle encouraging great sleep?