More than one in every two Americans say they aren’t getting enough sleep on weeknights, a phenomenon that has wide-reaching implications for public health, worker productivity, and the economy at large.
Binghamton University researchers released a new study in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research, which linked sleep deprivation to higher levels of both stress and depression. People suffering from depression or anxiety can enter a feedback loop when it comes to insomnia. Lack of sleep contributes to mental health problems and negative thinking, but anxiousness and depression also make it harder to fall asleep in the first place.
No matter the cause, it’s clear that U.S. workers aren’t getting enough sleep. Not only can that put many workers in physical danger during the workday, especially if they drive or operate machinery for a living, but it also lowers workplace productivity.
Circadian is a research company that provides safety information for companies employing a 24/7 workforce, and they’ve discovered a number of dangers caused by worker fatigue. Specifically, lack of sleep leads to decreased communication, increased distraction, driving impairments, higher incidence of errors, low morale, and more.
About four in 10 Americans doesn’t get enough sleep at night, but the effects of sleep deprivation are also cumulative.
According to EHS Today, “Four or more nights of partial sleep deprivation containing less than 7 hours of sleep per night can be equivalent to a total night of sleep deprivation. A single night of total sleep deprivation can affect your functioning for up to two weeks.”
Not only does this have negative implications for the U.S. economy, but it also leads to workplace accidents and even deaths.
The Binghamtom University researchers also found that the amount of sleep Americans get each night has declined significantly over the past few decades. Ultimately, they advise workers to adjust their schedule or speak to a doctor to prevent the negative side effects of poor sleep hygiene.