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JANUARY SPOTLIGHT: How your sleep health can affect your job

Sleep deprivation, Mind the Skills, SkillsGap

How much and how well you sleep can greatly impact your performance on the job.

Want to earn more money this year? Do you have "improved job skills" on your New Year's Resolutions list? You might want to make sleep a priority.

More and better sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of our lives, and that includes our performance at work, our ability to manage stress, and even the likelihood we will earn more money.

This January, SHC shines the spotlight on how sleep health can impact us in the workplace.

In the last couple of years, the extraordinary costs of workplace accidents and mistakes that can be blamed on poor sleep for employees have become the subject of debate for corporate human resource managers, economics analysts, and job advisers.

  • Major companies are adding nap rooms or “pods” to their workplaces as part of their employee benefit options.
  • Some are choosing to expand their flex time options for people who aren’t morning people after recognizing scientific support behind the idea that we are born with chronotypes such as “night owl” or “morning lark.”
  • Others have recognized the problems of getting adequate sleep for those employees working in a digital home office environment who must host or attend teleconferences halfway around the world while everyone else in his or her time zone is fast asleep.

SHC will continue to bring new ideas, links, commentary, and media forward on the topic of sleep and the workplace in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are a year’s worth of key links supporting the notion that sleep deprivation, by whatever cause, can potentially cost employers (or employees) huge amounts of money.

—The Curator

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JAN || PsycNET
Linking insomnia to workplace injuries: A moderated mediation model of supervisor safety priority and safety behavior (abstract)
“This study investigated why and how insomnia can relate to workplace injuries, which continue to have high human and economic costs. Utilizing the self-regulatory resource theory, we argue that insomnia decreases workers’ safety behaviors, resulting in increased workplace injuries.”

FEB 14 || SIOUX CITY JOURNAL
Lack of sleep costly, dangerous in workplace
“With 1 in 5 of the [Harvard Medical School] study participants displaying symptoms of insomnia, 43% admitted to having made serious errors or experiencing an accident in the past year. Some estimates put the costs to employers at $31.1 billion in workplace accidents.

MAR 1 || HCSS.com
Construction Work Among Highest Risk for Injury
“According to research from Harvard Medical School, more than 274,000 workplace accidents per year could be caused by sleep deprivation. The most common cause of sleep deprivation is insomnia, which can be difficult to treat and manage, especially from the perspective of construction managers. Supervisors should encourage workers to seek treatment for sleep disorders if they think it may be impacting their safety at work.”

APR || CLEAR EMPLOYER SERVICES
Sleep deprivation can impact your workers comp
“To comply with safety standards, many companies examine workplace conditions but one issue that is often overlooked is sleep deprivation. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30% of American adults are sleep deprived.”

MAY 2 || HUFFINGTON POST
7 Reasons Productive People Go to Bed Early
“While staying up an extra hour or two to finish your work can be tempting, missing just a few hours of sleep today can have serious consequences tomorrow.”

JUN 30 || JOURNAL OF SLEEP MEDICINE
Light Exposure and Sleep-Wake Pattern in Rapidly Rotating Shift Nurses
“Fatigue and daytime sleepiness of nurses due to sleep disorder is associated with various medical errors or accidents, which can threaten inpatient safety. Sleep disturbances can also result from the adaptation to shift duties. … The additional burden of sleep disturbance-related work performance of nurses is a further concern.”

JUL 13 || FUSIONHEALTH
The Impact of Sleep on Safety’s Dirty Dozen
“The Dirty Dozen was created in 1993 by Gordon Dupont while working as an employee for Transport Canada. It later became part of a training program for Human Performance in Maintenance and is now a central guideline used by transportation companies and safety training programs worldwide. The list focuses on twelve common preconditions for human error and unsafe acts. … Amongst the twelve, six preconditions are known to be positively impacted by healthy, restorative sleep.”

AUG 26 || FORBES
A Sleepless Nation: What Does The Lack Of Sleep Really Cost Us?
“The impact obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has on employers is staggering, with approximately $86.9 billion dollars wasted in lost productivity. Fatigue costs employers billions of dollars in wages for employees whose performance suffers both mentally and physically. In addition, an estimated $6.5 billion in costs are incurred to the economy due to OSA-related fatigue workplace accidents.”

SEPT 1 || FORTUNE
The Link Between Shut-Eye and Workplace Safety
“For businesses, having drowsy workers not only drains productivity, it can also create unsafe situations and contribute to accidents and disabling employee injuries, which cost more than $1 billion a week according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.”

OCT 1 || JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE
Trouble Sleeping Associated with Lower Work Performance and Greater Healthcare Costs: Longitudinal Data from Kansas State Employee Wellness Program
“Sleep is an important area of focus in occupational medicine. Previous studies have shown associations between employees’ sleep disturbances and a wide variety of negative occupational outcomes, including (1) absenteeism, (2) decreased productivity or presenteeism, (3) accidents and injuries, and (4) increased healthcare costs.”

NOV 30 || PLoS ONE
Sleep Apnea, Sleep Debt and Daytime Sleepiness Are Independently Associated with Road Accidents. A Cross-Sectional Study on Truck Drivers
“Recent research has found evidence of an association between motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) or near miss accidents (NMAs), and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) or its main medical cause, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). However, EDS can also be due to non-medical factors, such as sleep debt (SD), which is common among professional truck drivers. On the opposite side, rest breaks and naps are known to protect against accidents.”

DEC 14 || CHEAT SHEET
Can’t Sleep? 6 Ways Your Insomnia Costs You
“Employers, governments, and workers themselves all pay a price for a lack of sleep, whether it’s in the form of exhaustion, lost productivity, or stunted economic growth. All can also take steps to mitigate the problem. Employers might discourage the “always-on” culture that leaves many workers chained to their devices, while governments could fund sleep-related research or introduce later school start times. But the biggest impact may come from individual people making sleep a priority.”

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  1. POLL: What’s your chronotype? It may no longer be a night owl or early bird

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