Is your job making you sleep deprived?

08 March 2018

Datch Datchens

Datch Datchens

Did you get a good night’s sleep last night? The answer to that might have more to do with your job than you think. A Sleep Council study has revealed that how you sleep can vary greatly depending on the industry you work in.

The study suggests the best sleepers work in HR, with 12.9% claiming they’re able to get more than nine hours of sleep most nights. However, those that work in arts and culture are significantly more sleep deprived, with 45.9% revealing they get less than six hours of sleep on most nights. Furthermore, 20.3% of workers in arts and culture said they cannot fall asleep before midnight, whereas 18.3% of those working in the legal industry get to sleep before 10pm.

The study also revealed those working in marketing, transport and engineering are the most likely to turn to sleep remedies, with 23.1% of marketing employees saying they drink alcohol and purchase over-the-counter remedies to assist sleep.

Leading workplace-related reasons that deprive you of sleep

The same Sleep Council study revealed that 14.2% of Britons check their work emails directly before going sleep. However, 20.3% of IT and telecommunications workers and 19% of architects are checking their work emails last thing at night.

According to Science ABC, looking at a computer screen before going to bed is not only a deterrent for getting to sleep on time, but it also takes a gradual toll on your health. The light omitted from screens causes your brain to switch to ‘work mode’ when it should be winding down after a long day. This overwork can create neurotoxins, which disrupts the brain’s metabolism.

Another prominent factor was workplace stress, with 47.2% of people in the UK citing this as a reason they miss out on sleep. People working in education and retail scored well above this, with teachers coming in at 54.3% and retail employees scoring 52%.

Companies that encourage healthy sleeping

The Sleep Council study suggested that the national average of people that say they sleep poorly on most nights is 22%, but those working in sales and media marketing scored at 24%. Acknowledging this, companies like Google have taken steps to ensure their employees are getting enough sleep, even if that means napping in the offices! Google’s London HQ has installed sleeping pods to ‘improve productivity, maintain a happy working environment and boost alertness.’

Google isn’t the only company to install sleep pods in the workplace; some legal firms are also implementing this sleep assistance method. Interestingly, the Sleep Council study revealed that those working in legal are some of the best sleepers around, with 57% claiming they sleep very well on most nights, with 47% being the national average.

Beyond encouraging workplace napping, Aetna, an American insurance company, offers a cash incentive for their employees if they get seven hours of sleep per night. For every 20 nights an employee at Aetna gets seven hours of sleep, they’re rewarded with $25. And what’s more, the only way the company finds out if their employees have achieved this is through self-reporting!

Changes you can make to sleep better

Whatever your profession, it is pivotal you get a healthy amount of sleep, and one way you can do this is by modifying your sleeping conditions. Window blinds can block out light and street noise, and can reduce disruptions to your sleep. This would be beneficial for 17.6% of people who claimed that outside noise is the biggest contributor to their lack of sleep.

Certain blinds can artificially control the lighting in your room, by replicating a sunrise to wake you up naturally at 4:00am, or keeping daylight out so you can sleep through the day after coming home from a night shift. Electric blinds can also be programmed from your phone to be lowered or raised in tandem with sunrise and sunset, for a more natural sleep rhythm. The Sleep Council study also revealed that 11% of people said sunlight is a key factor as to why they can’t sleep, so installing these light blocking blinds could eradicate this issue.

Not getting a consistent amount of sleep can potentially lead to serious health complications such as insomnia and sleep apnoea. Therefore, it is vital you do everything in your power to ensure you’re getting the best night’s sleep possible – whether that means shutting down all electronics before heading to bed or investing in some good quality blinds that will ensure excellent sleep hygiene.

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