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Sleep Disorders

Sleep Tips for Workers

Many of America's adults are sleeping poorly, and it's taking a toll on professional relationships, productivity, public safety and intimacy, according to the 2005 "Sleep in America" poll released by the National Sleep Foundation. The poll showed sleep problems are widespread and on the rise, but often ignored.

Seventy-five percent of adults frequently have a symptom of a sleep problem, such as waking frequently during the night or snoring. Even with these symptoms, most ignore them and few think they actually have a sleep problem. Poll results include:

Evening and overnight shift workers are a group most likely to suffer from chronic sleep problems. While this might typically be considered an individual issue, the ramifications of tired workers can have economic effects as well.

Industry employers have a right to be concerned that their employees on night shifts are alert and productive. It is important to be alert during work, especially for employees on whom the public relies, such as law enforcement, health care personnel or the military.

It is in such employees' best interests to make sleep a priority for their own health, as well. Recent research suggests that an estimated 10 percent of night and rotating shift workers will have significant difficulty with their sleep and alertness at work, and are at higher risk for fatigue-related accidents, ulcer disease and depression.

These employees also tend to have difficulty maintaining their social and family relationships because of their schedules. Simple strategies may make life easier for those who are having problems with shift work and increase on-the-job alertness.

If you're a shift worker, try these tips to get the rest you need:

Sleep is not a passive process. It is actually an active restorative process. You need sleep to function well. If you are sleep-deprived, you won't function well. That's all there is to it.

This article is based on information provided by The Ohio State University Medical Center Media Relations Office and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission, 2007.

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Last Reviewed: Mar 05, 2007

Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Clinical Professor of Neuroscience
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University