Lack of sleep may not just leave us feeling stale; it could also be a major drain on our productivity.
Many of us suffer from sleep disorders. In the US it’s estimated that 10 percent of the population suffer from insomnia and 4 to 5 percent suffer from sleep apnea. What’s more is these disorders create a hindrance on work productivity and can be the cause of serious accidents.
According to research from the University of Bergen (UiB), these ramifications could be costing the US $63.2 billion every year. Of this number, researchers estimate that only one-third of this amount is due to work absence, the other two-thirds are a result of decreased productivity. The university release also cites research in Australia that found sleep disorders account for approximately two percent of the country’s GDP.
According to the Canadian Sleep Society’s 2003 statistics, one-third of Canada’s adult population reports insomnia symptoms, and 10 percent report insomnia so persistent that it affects their daytime activities.
Those who suffer from sleep disorders typically don’t know how to deal with them. Many will rely on sedative pharmaceuticals to get the good night sleep they need, but according to Børge Sivertsen, professor at UiB’s Department of Clinical Psychology and senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, these drugs may work initially, but they lose effectiveness over time. He says, “Sleep medication may work in the short term. But after six weeks of use we noticed a decrease in deep sleep. Sleep may be uninterrupted, but you may not necessarily get quality sleep.” In general, sedatives can leave users feeling less rested throughout the day.
Silvertsen also suggests that will many seek treatments that can be counterproductive, such as alcohol. He suggests that insomnia treatment should be more accessible, and that it should include cognitive behavioural therapy.
The most pressing concern for sleep disorders are in the increased risk of accidents. Additionally, some occupational lifestyles put people more at risk of developing sleep disorders. Freight drivers in particular, because of their sedentary activities, are more at risk of obesity and sleep apnea.
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