Research

Sleep deprivation: a health hazard yet to be taken seriously

dIgitalhealth
Royal Philips Electronics released a new survey that shows, the average manager is sleeping 19% less than the recommended amount of eight hours a night. The survey, conducted in five countries around the globe, showed that 40% of those questioned blame the state of the world economy as the major reason for their lack of sleep.

A vast majority of respondents to the survey (61%) say they have had their work impacted negatively by lack of sleep. On average, each estimated 6.2 days per year were impacted by inadequate sleep costing companies around the globe millions. In the UK for example, 6.7 days per year are impacted by lack of sleep and companies are losing nearly £850 of productivity per manager per year. With 4.3m managers in the UK (1), the cost to the economy could be as high as £3.63bn a year.People lose sleep either because they cannot sleep (insomnia) or because they are not setting aside enough time for sleep - both of which can happen because of work-related stress in the current economic environment, said Dr. David White, Chief Medical Officer for Philips Home Healthcare Solutions. People who do not get enough sleep can gain weight, are prone to diabetes, high blood pressure and even heart attacks.In addition to the findings about lack of sleep, the survey also found that while 96% of managers recognize that inadequate sleep can seriously affect a person's health, only 29% discuss their problematic sleep patterns. Of those that do, just 27% seek professional help from a physician with the majority simply talking about their problems with family and friends. Respondents were also polled on their awareness of a relatively common sleep disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition characterized by the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. The occurrence of OSA amongst young adults is relatively high. It is estimated that in the UK, over 770,000 people suffer from moderate to severe OSA, with only a fraction being diagnosed. Other findings from the survey included a very high awareness of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) as a curable illness (60%). Interestingly, despite the fact that snoring can be a key symptom of OSA, only 35% considered snoring a problem for them personally and 65% described snoring as a minor inconvenience that they did not feel needed to be dealt with.

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