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Sleep Deprivation: 5 Common Sleep Issues That Employees Face Plus How to Combat Them

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, 63 percent of Americans reported that their sleep needs aren’t being met during the week. Sleep deprivation is an issue that is often ignored, but is frequently the cause of decreased productivity, accidents, incidents and mistakes in the workplace. While sleep deprivation can sometimes be treated as a light-hearted issue, it is no laughing matter. Listed below are five common sleep issues that employees face along with tips to combat them.


Anxiety

Seven out of ten adults in the United States stated that they experience stress or anxiety daily. About one-third of those adults also reported persistent stress or excessive anxiety daily. Seven out of ten of those adults revealed that they have trouble sleeping.

It can become a frustrating cycle – as soon as your head hits the pillow your mind starts racing. You’re thinking about all of the tasks you have to accomplish the next day, that thing you should (or shouldn’t) have said to your boss, or even how expensive that new part for your car is going to be. Then you catch a glimpse of the clock, and start to calculate how many hours of sleep you can get if you fall asleep right now.

It’s a two-way street: anxiety can cause sleeping problem or worsen existing ones. But lack of sleep can also cause an anxiety disorder. If anxiety is keeping you up at night, try stretching before getting under the covers or using a meditation app before bed.

Busy Mind

We are so busy nowadays that it can sometimes feel like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. As a result, many people are working up until bedtime. This may not seem like an issue, but sleep isn’t as simple as an on/off switch. In order to set the stage for sleep, we need to unwind and dim our mind. Lying in bed with a busy mind will only serve to teach your body that your bed is a place to continue to be awake and think.

We’ve all had those nights where we can’t turn off our minds long enough to fall asleep. If you find this is happening to you on a regular basis, set aside time at least one hour before bed to relax and unwind. This will help create closure for the day and allow your brain to begin the process of shutting off. Dim the lights, turn off electronic devices, and do a relaxing activity such as reading or journaling. Find what works best for you and turn it into a nightly routine.

Discomfort
A Sleep In America Poll revealed that 21 percent of Americans experience chronic pain. 36 percent stated they have had acute pain in the past week. Together those combine to a majority of the nation’s adult population, 57 percent, leaving 43 percent who reported being pain free. Pain joins two related concerns, stress and poor health, as key components of shorter sleep durations and worse sleep quality. Pain is a huge factor in the gap between the amount of sleep that many Americans say they need and the amount they’re actually getting. There is an average 42-minute sleep debt for those with chronic pain and 14 minutes for those suffering from acute pain in the past week.

While both chronic and acute pain can lead to lost sleep, there are several things you can do in the bedroom to decrease discomfort at night and increase the amount of ZZZs you get. Breathable bedding, a comfortable pillow, and a well-designed mattress are all items that you should invest in if you are experiencing frequent discomfort at night. Companies like Casper have even engineered mattresses specifically for people who suffer from back, hip and shoulder pain. The Casper Wave relieves pressure points that frequently cause these kinds of pains. The firmness is targeted to provide not only comfort, but ergonomic support and spine alignment as well.

Noise

Whether you are sensitive to noise during the night or sleep like a rock, sound has the potential to affect your rest. Sounds that are trivial during the day can become bothersome at night, especially so when they are abrupt. Even if these noises don’t fully wake you up, they can arouse you slightly and affect your sleep cycle. Sleep stealing sounds can come from many sources ranging from home appliances, televisions, and pets to storms, traffic, and neighborhood noise.

While noise can have detrimental side effects, it can also have a positive effect on sleep as well. White noise can be used to provide a consistent backdrop for a better night’s rest. However, sound and noise are often simply unavoidable. If white noise isn’t helping, try earplugs to cover up any indoor or outdoor noise disturbances.

Temperature

If your body heats up too much throughout the night, you won’t be able to sleep well. In fact, restlessness and an endless night of tossing and turning is often a result of being too hot or too cold. This is due to the fact that our bodies have to work harder to self-regulate when external temperatures aren’t optimal. And when external temperatures aren’t ideal, your body will continuously switch back and forth between sweating and shivering except during REM sleep. During this stage, your body’s sweating and shivering mechanisms are impaired, which forces your body to adjust to whatever the ambient room temperature may be.

When you come out of this stage, depending on your bedroom environment, you may be too hot or too cold. At this time you may start sweating or shivering again, which can cause you to wake up and disrupt your otherwise healthy sleep cycle. To prevent this from happening, sleep experts recommend that you keep your thermostat between 60-67 degrees. Keep it at a lower temperature if you tend to use more blankets or pillows when you sleep and opt for a higher room temperature if you prefer fewer blankets.

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