Sleep deprivation may be costing the UK £40 billion a year. At least, that is what a report by the BBC suggests. Off what is that estimate based? It’s a correlation between tired employees and lost productivity.
As reported, research firm Rand Europe analysed data from 62,000 people. And what did the study find? That lost productivity due to lack of sleep cost the country 1.86 percent of economic growth.
Sleep, Health, and Productivity
Those sleeping less than six hours a night experienced significant health differences from those who got seven to nine hours of shuteye. In fact, the lack of sleep was even connected to a 13 percent chance of dying early when compared to those getting more rest.
But the UK isn’t the worst off in this arena. The US and Japan experienced higher losses due to the repercussions of too little rest amongst its working populations. Their GDPs lost 2.28 and 2.92 percent respectively. However, Germany and Canada both fair better, with losses of only 1.56 and 1.35 percent respectively.
The report stated that employees who got between seven and nine hours of rest were in the healthy range.
Standard Sleep Advice
If you want to be more productive, then aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Along with that, try to wake up at the same time every day, even if you don’t have to go to work. Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep as well as avoiding sugar and caffeine near bedtime.
Shutting down your electronic devices a few hours before bed is also recommended. Most smartphones, computers, and televisions emit light that disrupts the natural sleep cycle. Avoid unnatural light before bed, and your body will function more naturally. You should also avoid having any unnecessary light in the room when you sleep.
How Employers Can Help
Employers need to recognize the importance of sleep for their employees. Aside from limiting expectations to work from mobile devices when off the clock, organizations can invest in nap rooms to help tired employees get a reprieve when on breaks. Additionally, they should stress the importance of maintaining a proper sleep schedule and work with staff to find ways to make regular sleep a priority.
Small Changes Can Help
If you can’t immediately shift your schedule for more sleep, make small changes instead. If you can improve the quality of sleep that you are getting, then you can make fewer hours count for more. Additionally, try to time when you wake up based on your individual sleep cycle. By waking up during lighter points in your sleep cycle, you will feel more refreshed. There may be some trial and error involved in finding the right timing, but it can be worth the effort.
And don’t fall for the idea that you can catch up on all of the sleep you need on weekends either, as that approach is only marginally effective. Instead, shift your sleep by as little as 10 minutes at a time until you find an ideal point. When you start waking up feeling more energized, you’ll know that you are on the right track.