A bad night’s sleep is costing the UK economy £100bn a year

Sleeping at work
By Andrew Harbison, CA Today

18 March 2016

It may be time for a change to the way we deal with lack of sleep, not only for the sake of our work but for our home life too.

A study by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), published last February, found that sickness absence, including poor sleep, is causing 130 million working days to be lost, costing the UK economy £100bn a year.

Today is World Sleep Day and organisers from the World Association of Sleep Medicine are aiming to raise awareness of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.

Information provided by the World Sleep Survey found that the majority of workers felt that poor sleep left them with reduced concentration levels and caused difficulty in completing tasks during the work day.

60% also said that lack of sleep leaves them with low energy levels in their personal lives and that it has an adverse effect on their mood and relationship with others.

Five tips to improve your sleep

1. Stay away from screens!

Your bedroom should be a relaxing environment for you to sleep in. If you are constantly using your smartphone/tablet/laptop in bed this will dilute the association of sleeping and relaxation.

2. Let’s get physical

A regular exercise regime won’t just help you stay in shape; it can also make drifting off at night easier. Even a 15-minute yoga session a few hours before bed each night will go a long way.

3. Cut down on caffeine

This one seems obvious but caffeine can stay in your system for up to ten hours after consuming it. Avoiding caffeine after lunch time is a good way of ensuring that the stimulant will be out your system by bed time.

4. Get cosy

Treat yourself to a mattress and bedding that you feel as comfortable as possible on. What better way to drift of than feeling like you’re floating away on a cloud of comfort?

5. Clear your mind

Mentally listing the million and one things you need to do the next day as you stare at the ceiling is a common issue. Simply make a to-do list for the next day’s tasks as a way of emptying your head of those worries.

“Poor sleep is the unspoken productivity killer in the workplace and it has been ignored for too long” said Peter Hames, CEO and co-founder of Big Health. “Now is the time for employers to wake up to the problem of sleep - improving employee’s sleep positively impacts workplace effectiveness and general wellbeing.

Colin Espie, co-founder of Big Health and professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford, said it is important to acknowledge that a poor night’s rest does not only affect us physically “but also mentally and emotionally, seriously impacting our performance at work”

“World Sleep Day is the perfect time to acknowledge the widespread effect poor sleep has on our lives.”

One in three people in the UK are currently suffering from sleep related problems, with 60% saying they have not consulted a doctor about their issues.

“Now is the time for employers to wake up to the problem of sleep,” Peter went on to say.

“Improving employee’s sleep positively impacts workplace effectiveness and general wellbeing.”


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