One-third of U.S. adults not sleeping enough
Thursday, 03 March 2011 16:00An article on Health.com reports that an estimated 35 percent of Americans are not getting enough sleep, which may lead to unsafe roads and an unproductive workforce.
Moreover, that rate has increased from 23 percent in 1985, and authors noted that this may be due to a changing workforce and advances in technology that have people on a 24-hour cycle of communication and information.
Workers are now putting in more hours due to a competitive employment environment, and feeling the pressure to stay connected to the office at all hours. Both of these factors may lead to stress and a lack of sleep.
“We need to start seeing sleep as a central part of health. It isn’t a luxury,” said Lela McKnight-Eily, PhD, study co-author and epidemiologist and clinical psychologist with the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Heath Promotion, quoted by the news source.
Additionally, it was found that college-educated individuals tend to suffer more from sleep disturbances than their counterparts with high school diplomas. This may suggest that educated employees - who also tend to have more responsibilities - could be at a higher risk for the health problems, stress and lack of focus that plague tired individuals.
The National Institutes of Health reports that stress may also cause insomnia, suggesting a two-way correlation between anxiety and sleep loss.
Organizations that want to take care of staff members who work long hours and play integral roles in the company may want to consider employee wellness programs that focus on healthy sleep patterns and tout the benefits of a good night's sleep.
Patient and workplace require adjustments when employee has chronic back pain
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 16:00Research that was published in the British Medical Journal suggests that employees with chronic back pain may be able to return to work more quickly with integrated healthcare.
A team of scientists from the Netherlands and Canada conducted a study of 134 individuals who experienced persistent, debilitating back pain that caused them to take a sick leave from work. They found that patients who received a form of care that included exercises to improve their physical activity as well as adjustments to their workplace returned to work four months earlier, on average, than those who received traditional care.
The integrated care program was designed to help employees restore their occupational abilities. It also included a graded exercise schedule and addressed problems in the workplace that may have hindered the employee's ability to return.
After a year-long trial, the workers participating in the experimental program were also able to function better than their counterparts who received care that did not include workplace involvement.
Results of the study suggest that in order to reduce costs stemming from absenteeism, organizations may want to take a proactive role in ensuring that the workplace is a hospitable environment. Additionally, comprehensive employee health benefits that include rehabilitation for chronic illness may also make for a healthier staff and reduce workplace stress.
Communication and honesty are key for employee wellness
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 16:00In a paper that was published in the International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, researchers suggest that employers who are open and gain trust of their workers may benefit from strong employee performance.
Authors of the paper said that in an economic decline when people are losing their jobs or finding it difficult to gain employment, feelings of insecurity can spread to those who have jobs. In order to combat this, they said organizations should take extra steps to communicate with staff members.
"Companies with high trust levels give employees unvarnished information about the company's performance and explain the rationale behind management decisions. They are also unafraid of sharing bad news and admitting mistakes." said D. Keith Denton of the Department of Management at Missouri State University.
A lack of honesty and openness may lead employees to distrust their leaders, quit their jobs or develop a sense of cynicism and apathy.
Results of the study suggest that employee wellness means more than providing tools and resources for health. In order to reduce workplace stress and strengthen performance in the office, organizations may want to consider taking actions such as scheduling more one-on-one meetings with workers or starting a company bulletin.
Americans not getting enough sleep
Thursday, 24 February 2011 16:00Research that was presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies suggests that nearly 20 percent of Americans are not getting adequate sleep, leading to excessive daytime fatigue.
A team of researchers evaluated the self-reported sleep data of more than 8,900 people in Texas, New York and California for the study. Authors of the study said they are representative of about 62.8 million Americans.
Additionally, about 18 percent of study participants reported drowsiness or having fallen asleep during meetings or conversations with others.
"Sleepiness is underestimated in its daily life consequences for the general population, for the shift workers and for the people reducing their amount of sleep for any kind of good reasons. It is always a mistake to curtail your sleep," said Maurice Ohayon, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and study co-author.
The researchers noted that such sleepiness may lead to driving accidents or workplace injuries.
Results of the study suggest that employee wellness programs that promote healthy sleep habits for workers may reduce instances of injuries and accidents, which may also help cut back on costs stemming from employee health benefits.
Healthy sleep patterns may influence energy levels during the day
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 16:00In a study conducted by researchers at Colorado University's Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory (CUSCL), it was suggested that individuals who are deprived of sleep consume more energy than those who get a full night's rest.
Authors of the study said its results demonstrate the metabolic costs of sleep deprivation. While a missed night of sleep burned about 135 calories, researchers noted that staying awake is not a good weight loss method and may result in impaired cognitive and metabolic functions.
"Some conserved energy may be re-distributed to support vital physiological processes like learning and memory consolidation, immune function, and hormone synthesis and release," said Kenneth Wright, the study's lead author and director of the CUSCL.
Results of the study point to the importance of sleep when it comes to energy use. They suggest that employees who develop healthy sleep patterns may be more productive during the day.
A National Institutes of Health study has shown that employees with insomnia and poor sleep habits were less productive at work and took more prescription sleep medications than their well-rested counterparts. Additionally, the research suggested that fatigue-related costs averaged nearly $2,000 per employee annually.
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