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Sleepiness In the Workplace

The cost of a sleepy company
Healthy sleep is now recognized as a vital element to our general sense of well-being. A healthy and productive workforce can make a difference in staying competitive. Imagine employees eager to engage in innovation, enthusiastic about improving productivity, energetic and pro-active! To develop such a competitive mindset, employees need to feel and be healthy… and it all starts with a good night’s sleep. 

According to a 2005 National Institutes of Health consensus statement, 30% of Americans suffer from disrupted sleep and 10% suffer from daytime impairment or sleepiness (consistent with insomnia). More recently, the 2009 National Sleep Foundation poll reports that 1 out of 4 workers with a sleep problem is unable to work well and efficiently due to sleepiness. Addressing detection, diagnosis and treatment of sleep issues to counter the lack of productivity is critical, especially when results from a study conducted among four U.S. corporations report that fatigue related drop in productivity costs those companies an astounding $1,967/employee annually!

The current state of a sleepy workforce
The 2008 Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation on sleep and performance in the workplace found that among working respondents:

  • 49% woke up feeling unrefreshed at least a few nights a week in the past month
  • 44% report experiencing a sleep problem every night or almost every night
  • 29% have fallen asleep or became very sleepy while they were at work because of sleepiness or because they have a sleep problem in the past month.
  • 12% were late to work due to sleepiness or a sleep problem in the past month
  • 32% have driven drowsy at least once per month during the past year.
  • 33% snored at least a few nights a week in the past month.
  • 15% reported having unpleasant feelings in their legs at least a few nights
  • 25% of those reporting sleepiness (reported being sleepy) are unable to work well and efficiently because they are too sleepy

Who should be concerned?

  • Shift workers. One out of every three Americans working on shifts report that sleepiness interferes with their daily activities, and more than half of all shift workers admit to falling asleep on the job at least once a week (2000 National Sleep Foundation Poll).
  • Workers with untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy. Sleep disorders can cause sleep fragmentation, which prevents quality restorative sleep and results in an accumulated sleep debt.
  • Workers with long hours or shift work. A demanding work schedule often prevents workers from getting enough sleep and frequently causes a chronic sleep deprivation. (See Shift Work Sleep Disorder).
  • Employers. A sleepy workforce affects the bottom line and is associated with many hidden costs for a company in terms of decreased productivity, work errors, and absenteeism. One-half of the American work force reports that sleepiness on-the-job interferes with the amount of work they get done (2000 National Sleep Foundation poll).

The causes
Sleep issues among employees are pervasive and overlooked for multiple reasons:

  • Sleep problems in the work force are under appreciated
  • Sleep-health education is almost non existent
  • Sleep disorders are under recognized or often misdiagnosed
  • Sleep-health management or care is inadequate

The solutions
At the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute, we are acutely aware of the many challenges faced by employees and company managers. Over the years, we have developed core competencies to answer the sleep-health needs of companies in Central Ohio and beyond based on:

  • Talent and expertise: Our physicians are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise. Our founder, Dr. Helmut Schmidt, played a central role in establishing the certification process for physicians in sleep medicine and getting sleep medicine recognized as a specialty by the American Medical Association. Our reputation for quality sleep medicine care has earned Dr. Markus Schmidt to be recognized as best sleep medicine physician in Central Ohio by his peers.
  • Best practices: We are proud to offer consistent, reliable, and outstanding care. Our Gold Standards of Sleep Medicine Care strives to meet the highest standards of care in Sleep Medicine. Our commitment to excellence ensures the most thorough diagnosis and treatment of all sleep disorders or sleeps issues. The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines quality health care as “doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right person—and having the best possible results” (1). We strive to deliver this superior quality of care. By answering our patients’ sleep problems, we strive to improve their overall health, safety, productivity and happiness.
  • Successful planning: To deliver high quality and efficient care, we put in place a customized strategy and treatment plan for each individual. Our thorough sleep assessment and evaluation allow us to make the most accurate sleep diagnosis to deliver the best treatment plan. We do not believe in a “cookie cutter” or “one size fits all” approach. Instead, we customize a meaningful treatment and management plan for each individual. Our overall treatment compliance or adherence is well above national standards, largely because we foster a collaborative relationship with patients to maximize success.

For more information on how to keep your employees alert and productive, contact us at info@sleepmedicine.com


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