According to a recent study published by the National Sleep Foundation, 56% of Americans report that they do not get as much sleep as they need on work days. A sleep deficit can impair performance by affecting judgment, concentration, motor skills, response times and more. In fact, a significant lack of sleep can affect mental and physical performance the same way alcohol will, and to the same degree.
Spread the word about fatigue and the importance of adequate sleep. Here are some pointers for improving the quality and quantity of sleep:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Avoid sleeping late on weekends and shoot for the same bedtime every night.
- Create a sleep-inducing environment in your bedroom. Use blackout curtains and eliminate even small light sources to make it as dark as possible. Cooler temperatures help you sleep, so use a fan if necessary--the white noise created by a fan may also help you sleep.
- Avoid using electronics within an hour of bedtime, and keep electronics out of your bedroom.
- Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are sleep saboteurs and should be consumed in moderation and avoided in the hours right before sleep.
Remember that caffeine is not a substitute for sleep. If you are too tired to do your job effectively, coffee will not fix it. The only cure for sleep deprivation is sleep.
For more on fatigue and sleep deprivation on the job, check out this article from Industrial Safety and Hygiene News.