iThe Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Individual Productivity
Sleep is a basic necessity of life. The current 24-hour society, we use precious nighttime hours for daytime activities. In the past century, we have reduced the average sleep time by 20 percent and, in the past 25 years, added a month to the average annual work time (National Sleep Foundation, 1999). The sleep habits of society has changed but the bodies of individuals have not.
Sleep problems have become a modern epidemic that is taking a toll on individual bodies and minds. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted a Gallup Poll in March 2001 which looked at the relationship between Americans' lifestyles, sleep habits and sleep problems. According to the poll, the majority of American adults (63%) do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep needed for good health, safety, and optimum performance, in fact, nearly one-third (31%) report sleeping less than seven hours each weeknight.
The NSF poll revealed, due in part because our society has become a 24-hour operation, many adults say they now spend more time at work and less time sleeping (40% vs. 38%). More than one-third (38%) responded that they are working fifty hours or more a week. One in five adults (20%) are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with daily activities a few days a week or more (National Sleep Foundation, 2001). The penalty of sleepdeprived employees is significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The National Commission on Sleep Disorders reported that decreased productivity and accidents in the workplace cost the nation $150 billion a year. A review of literature uncovered research showing that rotating shifts and sleep deprivation lead to mistakes, dips in attention, delayed reactions, accidents in the workplace, crashes on the roadways, reduced productivity and
difficulties in communication (National Sleep Foundation, 1999). Statement of the Problem
The National Sleep Foundation survey concluded that workers estimate about a 30 percent decline in the quality and quantity of their work when they are sleepy. About a quarter of the workforce (27 percent) report they are sleepy at work two or more days each week. Young people (age 18 to 29) seem to be the sleepiest – 40 percent of them report that they are sleepy at work at least twice a week. Those same young people indicated that 22 percent of them have been late to work because of sleepiness, while the overall total is 14 percent. Being sleepy on the job, whether the cause is simple sleep deprivation or an undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder, can have a vital impact on how well workers can do their job. For example, night-shift workers have poorer daytime sleep, reduced night-time alertness and performance, and an increased accident rate. In addition to numerous health problems there is a substantial cost to the economy in terms of decreased efficiency and productivity (Arendt, 2001). The cost of sleepiness-related accidents can vary considerably, but in general, the estimated total cost of such accidents per year in the United States is $16 billion and $80 billion worldwide (Moore-Ede, 1993).
The purpose of this study is to determine what effects, if any, mild sleep deprivation has on productivity, which in turn effects the workplace. The researcher is specifically interested in the number of nocturnal awakenings and self-perception of mood in the morning and its correlation to productivity levels.
Although the review of literature revealed a discrepancy, the majority of articles describe partial sleep deprivation (sleeping less than 5 hours in one 24-hour period) as having negative 2
effects on cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and emotional measures. From this information it is derived that cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and emotional measures will affect productivity. Therefore, it is hypothesized that partial...
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