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Is Your Work Causing Sleep Deprivation? - 7 Possible Ways

Oct 12, 2007
Do you feel drowsy during the day or evening?
Is tiredness affecting your daily activities on a regular basis?
Do you fall asleep often when you sit down to relax?
Are you irritable with others around you?

If you answer yes to a couple of these, most likely you are sleep deprived.


Staying at work way beyond the normal eight hours is the biggest determinant of how much sleep Americans get in a typical day. Overtime is a common occurrence in many industries. In the culture of many organizations, to work just eight hours could actually be considered skipping out early. Mathias Basner, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine studied 47,731 Americans. He found that those who worked longer hours found time for other activities by shortening their sleep hours.


When you have concerns on your mind about work, it can be difficult to sleep at night. In order to combat this sleeplessness, many people have an alcoholic drink or take sleeping medicines to fall asleep. The problem with these is that you have lighter sleep and don't have the REM phase of sleep that is so restorative to the brain.


When you are working at times when you normally would be sleeping, you disrupt your circadian rhythm. This rhythm is the cycle your body repeats day after day. Shift work sleep disorder has effects very similar to jet lag. Shift work affects people in various industries: medicine, production lines, technology, telephone service reps, transportation. We also need light in our days to produce the melatonin needed for quality sleep. Having to sleep in the daytime when you are on a night shift deprives you of sunlight.


Travel time, including time sitting in traffic, can take up a large portion of your day. It could be considered one of the hidden costs to living out in the suburbs. To make up for the loss of those hours, it's tempting to shorten sleep time. Fatigue caused by the lack of sleep can make the commute dangerous as well as stressful. Sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 100,000 automobile crashes a year (National Sleep Foundation).


What a wonderful technological advancement to be able to log into your work computer from home! Or is it? When does work stop and leisure begin? Working on your sofa with your laptop while trying to participate in family time is not effective for either activity. And how tempting it is to continue work in the quiet of the night to catch up on what you didn't feel complete from your day! To transition from working at the computer to falling asleep can be difficult also, resulting in an even later start to sleep.


Working long hours and not taking breaks during the day can lead to too much time between food intake and poor food choices. Late business dinners or dinners with clients can mean a very full stomach when heading to bed. This can have an adverse effect on the quality of your sleep.


Exercise is often forgotten with not enough time or energy left over after work demands are met. And exercising too late in the evening can also make it difficult to get to sleep. Getting up early enough in the morning to exercise can be a real challenge when you do not have enough sleep during the night.

If some of these factors are influencing your sleep, you may want to look for solutions that can help you move toward taking better care of yourself. Over a period of time, the effects on you from sleep deprivation build up and can cause a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional problems.

If you have employees, be aware that these challenges to their sleep and other self-care can be very detrimental to their productivity and attendance on the job.
About the Author
If you are ready to take some steps toward improving your own or employee self-care, a business coach can offer the support you need. Suzanne Holman, MAEd can be your own personal productivity coach! You can find a free assessment, a complimentary self-care starter session, and a weekly Exuberant Productivity journal at http://www.ExuberantProductivity.com.
Exuberant Productivity.com
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