Workplace Fatigue Got You Down?

11/18/2019   In Industry Information

Do you feel unproductive when you get to work? Are you the kind of person who stays up late to either capitalize on your free time or to squeeze in another hour of productivity? These habits can lead to serious fatigue that can linger with you throughout your workday and will result in loss of focus and muscle coordination. The failure to get enough sleep every night is a growing concern and taking a toll on American workers.

According to the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Over the last two decades, the number of American workers getting the proper amount of sleep has declined. The National Health Interview Survey suggests that almost 30 percent of Americans get less than six hours of sleep every night. That percentage increases to around 44 percent for night shift workers. This trend is a big safety concern. 

Why is sleep important?
Sleep plays a critical role in your physical and mental health. While you sleep, your brain prepares for the next day by processing information from the day before, consolidating it and storing it as long-term memory. Your body also uses this time to grow muscle and repair any damaged tissue. Sleeping for at least seven hours per night improves awareness and your overall mood and increases your capacity to receive and retain information. A good night’s sleep is also shown to lower the risks of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

Safety at Work
Work as a mechanical contractor can be exhausting, both mentally and physically, which makes adequate sleep such a vital factor. It may not seem substantial, but losing just an hour or two of sleep per night may have lingering consequences on your job performance. It’s estimated that around 13 percent of all workplace injuries are caused by workers suffering from sleep deprivation and deficiency. Because worker fatigue is the root of many workplace accidents, why don’t we hear about it? The answer is relatively simple: Workers are not usually asked about fatigue or sleep deprivation after an incident.

Develop New Habits
If you find yourself drowsy at work, or losing concentration while performing everyday tasks, you may want to consider developing new sleep habits. Here are some ways you can maximize your sleep time:

  • Minimize your forced overtime hours. Productivity is great, but not at the expense of sleep.
  • Make sure you take frequent breaks throughout the day to reduce stress.
  • Avoid eating large meals or consuming alcohol within a few hours of going to bed.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks or stimulants prior to bedtime.
  • Continue to be physically active even after work — exercise is a healthy practice and will help ease nervous energy around bedtime.

Sleep is an often overlooked safety consideration. As American workers continue to work longer, more demanding hours, the importance of a good night’s rest cannot be understated. Create a healthy routine and stick with it. Your body and your co-workers will thank you!

If you have changed your habits, but continue to have problems sleeping, check out the resources from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for more information on fatigue, disorders and sleep deprivation.