The research gathered by Rand Europe shows that workers who are sleep-deprived not only cost the UK economy £40bn a year, but they are at a higher risk of death.
People sleeping less than six hours a night are 13% more likely to die than those sleeping between seven and nine hours. Too many of us don’t recognise the importance that sleep has on our health and are putting ourselves at risk by not getting enough rest.
The ‘healthy daily sleep range’ according to Rand is between seven and nine hours per night, but sadly, most people don’t achieve this as they feel they are too busy to stop. What we don’t realise is the amount of time we waste when we are not functioning at full capacity. The UK loses 200,000 working days a year, 1.86% of GDP. Although this is lower than Japan and the US, it is a huge figure that needs to change.
To fully improve our sleep, we need to understand why it is so important. It plays a vital role in our health and well-being and can protect not only our physical health but our mental wellbeing, safety and quality of life.
Prolonged sleep-deprivation can increase your risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Not only this, but it can affect how well you think and learn, impacting on your overall performance at work. Sleep allows your brain to prepare itself for the next day and can prevent emotional illnesses like depression. It is only when we are asleep that our bodies can repair and heal themselves. Our immune system is less likely to work efficiently when we are tired, so you may have trouble fighting off even common infections.
People who don’t get enough sleep are also more likely to gain weight. Losing just one hour of sleep per night can lead to increased calorie consumption with those of us who are sleep-deprived consuming up to an extra 385 calories every single day, but not burning off any more calories than usual. This is because when we are tired the levels of the hunger hormone Ghrelin increases and the level of Leptin reduces, making us feel more hungry when we are tired.
The study suggested that employers promote the importance of sleep by building nap rooms and discouraging extended use of electronic devices after working hours. Mr Hafner at Rand Europe said ‘small changes could make a big difference, if those in the UK currently sleeping under six hours a night increased this to between six and seven hours, it would add £24bn to the UK’s economy.
Here’s our top tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Keep your bedroom between 18-21degrees.
- Stop drinking caffeine after 2pm.
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Sip Camomile or Lavender tea before bed.
- Play white noise or soothing sounds to reduce noise disturbance.
- Avoid alcohol and eat well- at least 3 times a day and not too late at night.
- Dim the lights to prepare yourself for bed, or even better, use candle light.
- Introduce Lavender scented candles and room/pillow sprays to help ease yourself in to a slumber.
- Don’t do anything work related in bed. Keep the bedroom as your sleep haven so you associate the room with sleep, not work.
- Make sure you have a comfortable mattress that gives you the right amount of support and comfort to get a good night’s sleep.
The Tweak mattress is a dual comfort mattress, designed for couples. The dual foam inserts allow both you and your partner to select your preferred level of firmness for your side of the bed, so you can both get the sleep you deserve, without compromise. Find out more about the Tweak mattress here.