Good quality sleep is essential for our capacity to function and thrive. Studies suggest that anything less than 7 hours sleep is damaging to our health. Sleep plays a fundamental role in nearly all body systems, so a persistent lack of sleep can have serious physical and mental health consequences.
Sleep is essential for cognitive functioning and workplace performance in adults. Fatigue and sleep deprivation have played a role in high profile global disasters, as well as more locally in our day to day lives. Sleep problems increase the risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents, and over the 2016-17 reporting period, it was suggested that inadequate sleep contributed to more than 3,000 deaths in Australia. The economic cost of sleep problems was estimated to be $51 billion over the 2019-20 reporting period.
The body is designed to get its best sleep at night and be alert during the day and early evening.
Shift work has been associated with a wide spectrum of health consequences and is currently considered a contributing factor in the development of cancer due to the disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle)
Health complications have been found to be amplified in the shift worker as the average shift worker sleeps 1 hour less per day than someone who doesn’t work shifts, with some experiencing up to 4 hours less per day.
It’s incumbent on the employer to ensure the health and safety of their workforce. A well-rested and attentive employee is a safe employee. Below are suggestions for minimising fatigue and supporting the quality sleep in your workforce:
An onsite injury management program can help screen for any underlying sleep disturbance problems impacting the workforce.
Click below to download our sleep, shift work and fatigue posters.
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