Could being a night owl affect your job performance?

sleeping workerMany people endure sleepless nights for various reasons, but could this be detrimental when you’re on the clock? In the United States alone, we house many people who are over worked and those who have very abnormal work hours.  There are some who find it quite normal to wake up in the morning to the sound of their iPHONE or Blackberry going off due to a number of emails flooding their inbox before their feet have a chance to touch the floor.  Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia are three standard forms of sleep disorders that can not only be destructive and damaging physically, but can also affect your job performance.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen.  According to Sleep Education, it’s estimated that 80% of men and 90% of women suffer with moderate to severe sleep apnea.

A study in an issue of the journal, Sleep, involved 150 people who were all referred to a sleep center in California for sleep apnea. Their average age was 44, and the individuals were employed at the time of the study. The sleep study confirmed the presence of sleep apnea in 83 of the participants. Results show that work productivity suffered when people had sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Restless Leg Syndrome is a sleep disorder which causes a person to experience severe pain in their arms and legs, and ultimately causes them to lose sleep due to discomfort.  The pain is usually too much to bear, so the individual tends to toss and turn because they feel the urge to move their limbs.  This particular kind of sleep disorder is one that can seriously impact job performance especially because the condition can occur at any time throughout the day.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, primary insomnia, a sleep disorder unrelated to another medical condition, can result from long-lasting stress, work schedules that affect your sleep habits or emotional distress. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep at least three nights a week for more than a month, you could have chronic insomnia. These symptoms, along with daytime fatigue and poor focus, occur less frequently in acute insomnia.  “There is a two-way tie between sleep and mental health,” says Lawrence J. Epstein, M.D., former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep. “Good sleep allows you to function at your best, but if you’re not feeling your best, that affects your sleep.”

With the current trends in joblessness, company cutbacks and financial insecurity, Nancy Collop, M.D., the director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center, says an increase in work-stress-related sleep issues is logical. An irony, though, is that “sleep deprivation makes you less interested and less motivated to do work.”

In order to produce quality work, people require a good night sleep to repair, revise and renew brain function.

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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