Research has shown that about one-third of workers in the U.S. get less than six hours of sleep per night, and the result is chronic fatigue.
The decision to go without enough sleep affects a person’s capacity carry out work safely. Tired employees have diminished motor skills and reaction time, which is particularly dangerous for jobs that involve heavy equipment.
Research has also shown that over a long timeframe, employees become less aware of just how sleepy they really are. They may feel as alert as ever, but their abilities as still impaired. This is how people fall into the trap of chronic fatigue, and even start to dismiss the idea of getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Over the course of years, sleep loss can also seriously affect a worker’s health. The body sleeps so that its internal systems can refresh and realign. If you stop each system replenishing itself, it can lead to problems like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Encouraging Good Sleep Hygiene
To boost employees’ sleep habits, companies must first look in the mirror and determine if their policies or workloads are contributing to chronic fatigue. Employers should also work with their staff members, educating and encouraging them to maintain good sleep hygiene.
If early morning start times are contributing to employees picking up bad sleep habits, a company should consider adopting a certain degree of flexibility that allows workers to come in later. Many people also miss out on sleep because they have to work two jobs to make ends meet. A company should consider paying employees more if it will allow them to focus on one job and maintain better sleep habits.
Shifting views on the significance of healthy sleep habits may take time among your workforce. Part of the reason for this is the romantic notion us Americans have of the employee who stays late into the evening and comes in early the next morning. This notion still holds, despite of years of studies showing this behavior is dangerous on the job.
Companies need to confront employees’ lack of sleep by educating them on good sleep hygiene. Just telling workers they need to get more sleep will have little effect unless the message is personal. For instance, an employee could be told how lack of alertness is impacting their work.
Furthermore, safety team members at a company should encourage workers to seek a medical professional if are having problems getting enough good quality sleep.
At Action Group, the health of our contract workers and clients is our top priority. If your company is looking to outsource its health and safety training, please contact us today to find out how we can help.