How Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance
Fatigue has basically become a way of life for many people. If you ask someone how they’ve been doing, they’re likely to respond with “Busy!” or “Tired!” As a culture, we wear our overwork and our tiredness like a badge of pride. It shows that we are irreplaceable and hardworking.
Unfortunately, overwork actually makes us less safe. Even one night of poor sleep can affect your decision-making capabilities and response time. Learn more about the dangers of sleep deprivation, and if you’ve suffered an injury at work, call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to talk about your claim.
What is Enough Sleep?
Generally, adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. There are outliers who function well on six hours and those who need a full nine hours to feel rested. Regardless of where you set the parameters, though, the fact remains that a shocking number of American adults are fatigued.
It’s estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans have an ongoing sleep disorder that causes disruptions in their sleep and wakefulness. This means that a lot of the people you see at work or on the road every day are suffering sleep deprivation to some degree.
How Sleep Deprivation Impacts Your Work
Rather than asking “how does sleep deprivation affect work?” it might be easier to ask how it doesn’t affect work. In fact, sleep deprivation reaches into nearly every area of an individual’s life, making them less productive and less safe.
People who suffer chronic tiredness fail to communicate as effectively as others. Their response time is longer, which often means they need longer to gather their thoughts when responding to a question. When they do come up with an answer, they may mumble, slur their words, or otherwise be difficult to understand.
Fatigued workers have lower levels of productivity than rested workers. This is ironic, since the reason many people are sleep-deprived is that they want to get ahead of their work by putting in long hours. However, you may actually perform better at work by getting the rest you need.
If you drive for work, the effects of sleep deprivation can be deadly. Some research suggests that driving while fatigued is nearly as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol. The delayed response time, inability to make rational decisions, and other effects of fatigue significantly increase the risk of a car accident when an unrested driver is involved. These effects also target those who drive large machinery for work, such as commercial trucks, forklifts, and other large vehicles.
One shocking and dangerous effect of sleep deprivation is an increase in risk taking. People who are overly tired are more likely to make risky decisions and underestimate the risk involved.
Bottom Line: Fatigue Can Lead to Workplace Accidents
When you look at all of the ways a lack of sleep can affect an individual, it’s clear that fatigue is making every work environment a less safe place to be. Even one night of poor sleep can leave an individual irritable, at risk of making poor decisions, and unable to concentrate. When you extend that into a pattern of limited or low-quality sleep, you have the ideal environment for workplace accidents.
Remember, this risk isn’t just coming from one overtired worker at your place of employment. With up to 70 million Americans suffering from chronic sleep issues, it’s likely that a good percentage of your workplace is pushing through the days with not enough sleep.
This is something that must be addressed by employers. When employees are pushed to meet impossible deadlines, take on too many projects, or do the work of multiple people, their health is at risk. Beyond that, the health of everyone they come into contact with is at risk. It should be a priority for employers to encourage healthy sleep habits and create work environments that allow employees to get the rest they need.
Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. to Discuss Your Options After an Injury
If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages and medical bills. Our team of workers’ compensation lawyers can help you explore your options and take the first step. Get started now by calling Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or contacting us online.