A new survey says that sleep deprivation is costing the UK economy £40 billion a year. The economic cost of sleep deprivation is measured by days lost and the UK comes fourth after the USA, Germany and Japan. In the US it is the equivalent of £326bn a year.
Not only could the economy do better without the lost days but workers who get more sleep are more productive and creative and could provide an even bigger boost.
Sleep deprivation causes irritability, lack of concentration and being accident prone on a daily basis. There are longer term issues too, our bodies need sleep to heal and rest and a lack of it can cause obesity, diabetes, stress, depression and cardiovascular disease.
But it’s work that causes a lot of the problems with sleep. Mobile phones keep us “always on” and connected to the office, with emails and calls into the night, at weekends and on holiday. Longer hours mean there is less time for hobbies and relaxation. Stress and worries about work can keep us awake or seeking distraction late into the night.
For many people that distraction is their mobile phone and that’s another problem. The light from mobile phone screens disrupts the circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep and the sleep of poorer quality. It does this because the circadian rhythm is matched to the sun, as is the blue-spectrum light that our phones emit. By mimicking sunlight our phone screens are tricking our bodies into thinking it is still daytime and we should be awake, making it that much harder to fall asleep.
Do you have difficulty sleeping at night? Could it be affecting your performance at work?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!