Learn how managing the fine line between work from home and at work makes sleep worse.

At a glance

  • Australia has one of the longest working hours in the OECD in two decades.
  • The direct and indirect costs of sleep deprivation in Australia are estimated at A $ 51 billion a year.
  • The federal government has begun to recognize the problem in 2018, and the focus on the problem is growing amid the challenges of far-flung work.

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By Carolyn Zielinski

Lack of sleep costs the economy 14 14.4 billion in direct losses և A $ 36.6 billion in non-financial expenses such as loss of well-being.

The federal government recognized the scale of the problem in 2018 by launching a large-scale investigation into sleep health awareness.

However, despite the resources devoted to the business community and its managers to educate them about the benefits of a well-rested workforce, many areas, including accounting and finance, continue to bear the lack of sleep as a mark of honor.

Sleep health և workplace

Lack of sleep affects some of the key cognitive functions we need to be effective in, including critical thinking, memory, and attention, says Professor Shanta Rajaratnam, Vice President of the School of Psychology at Monash University and President of the Sleep Health Foundation.

“As a result, many aspects of our work-related performance are disrupted.

“We make worse decisions, we reduce the ability to solve new, complex problems, to process information, to regulate our emotional reactions to what is happening around us.”

Whether Australia is widely regarded as a peaceful, happy country, the study of our changing work habits tells a different story.

The average number of full-time hours has increased significantly over the last two decades, making Australia the longest-time full-time worker in the OECD.

Dr. Zoe Kruppka, a psychotherapist and senior lecturer at the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne, who has lived and worked around the world, says that attitudes toward sleep in the Australian workplace, especially in areas such as accounting, banking, finance and law, are unhealthy.

“What I have noticed is that Australians have the same attitude towards sleep as in North America. “There’s so much enthusiasm for not sleeping,” he says.

“People overestimate their abilities when they are tired,” says Kruppka.

“People are often surprised by the tests they do when they are tired while driving. “They do not know how deviant they really are.”

Turn off for health

Deloitte was one of the few jobs that helped change sleep patterns. In October of last year, Deloitte launched a campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of sleep by teaching employees about good sleep hygiene and encouraging them to control their sleep patterns for a month.

During the campaign, staff were informed about good sleep habits, sleep ability, the impact of sleep on technology, behavioral, and other lifestyle factors, as well as the potential impact of sleep on individual productivity.

Deloitte also encourages other businesses to consider sleep as a fundamental business issue, considering a good night’s rest in terms of productivity incentives.

Corporations hoping to revitalize their “always-on” culture by investing in the growing “corporate health” industry will be disappointed with its $ 61.6 million corporate meditation rooms in Australia.

The only way to combat sleep deprivation is to work less and get more exercise at the end of each workday.

This is especially true with the advent of remote, flexible work environments where technology and work invade our personal lives.

“This pressure to respond to off-the-job demands makes it harder to quit,” said Rebecca Mitchell, an associate professor of management at McQuarrie University.

What organizations do not understand is that if they want to get more jobs from people, to keep them for a long time, they have to allow them to quit, to actually quit their jobs, to limit “TV pressure.” “Stop thinking of sleep as ‘breasts,'” he says.

The cost of lack of sleep

Deloitte, in partnership with the Sleep Health Foundation, estimates that the direct and indirect costs of sleep deprivation will be A $ 51 billion a year.

Jared Streitfeld, Deloitte Access Economics’ s deputy director of health economics and social policy, says they have reached that number using the value of the disease framework.

“We use this framework to comprehensively measure the value of a condition that can be compared to the impact of other health conditions ծախս the cost of interventions to reduce the burden of the condition,” says Streitfeld.

The team of the report, which also included Rajaratnam, examined the economic and health effects of three specific sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless legs syndrome, which affect one in five Australians in general.

The report then looked at the impact of sleep disorders on costs, such as absenteeism, early retirement, attendance, need for informal care, fatigue-related work-related accidents, and loss of quality of life.

“Measuring productivity objectively in knowledge-based industries is a challenge,” admits Rajaratnam. “Cognitive tests to see how lack of sleep interferes with aspects of their cognitive function.”

Prosperity over wealth

While governments և corporations focus on numbers, they are only part of the picture, experts agree.

“Economists are focusing on profit and loss of productivity,” says Mitchell, “but what we’re really talking about are the real problems that affect real people because of the stress and lack of sleep.”

“The government is focused on profitability, considering sleep as a diagnosable problem, but in reality, if you do not quit your job and do not sleep well, your quality of life will suffer,” he said. “You can overcome a lot if you have the opportunity to recover. Sleep is important for the recovery process.”

Krupka notes that “economic arguments do not always make sense either.”

“There is a lot of evidence that working less, being less busy, sleeping more is actually the best way to be more creative, productive, effective, but we continue to think that only economically driven programs will cost less.

“It is culturally intolerable for us to be bored, to do nothing, but if we do not rest, do not sleep, we become much more reactive,” the difference between urgency becomes much more difficult for our body. ” everything becomes anxiety. provocative.

“As the road signs say, only sleep cures fatigue,” he says.

7 ways to create a positive sleep culture

Expert advice for better sleep

  • Maintain regular bedtime and waking every day, even on weekends. Everyday life is key.
  • Limit your screen time տվ Give a buffer “without equipment” for an hour before going to bed.
  • Take care of your body. Continue your daily exercise և Avoid alcohol as a means of sleep.
  • Take care of your mind և try to solve any problem long before going to bed. If you still feel restless or restless before going to bed, try stretching, yoga, or being careful.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping. Avoid working, watching TV, or using a laptop in your bedroom as much as possible.
  • If you wake up at night, can’t sleep again, get up, do something soothing in low light before going to bed again.
    Source: Dr. Melinda Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Monash University

Other financial costs of sleep deprivation

In addition to the cost of treatment for sleep deprivation, other financial costs associated with attributable sleep disorders amounted to A $ 13.4 billion in 2019-2020. The distribution of some of these costs is given below.

  • 7.5 billion Australian dollars. Presence losses
  • 2.2 billion Australian dollars. Losses of absences
  • 1 billion Australian dollars. reduction of employment
  • $ 0.3 billion. Informal care costs
  • $ 0.2 billion. Premature mortality costs
    Source: Sleep Health Foundation

Sleep self-assessment

If you answer “yes” to more than four of these questions, you can sleep.

  1. Do you feel tired after waking up?
  2. It takes you more than 30 minutes to sleep at night.
  3. You wake up at night and have trouble falling asleep again.
  4. Do you feel that your sleep affects your daytime activities (alertness, work performance, etc.)?
  5. Have you or anyone else noticed that you are more irritable or emotional?
  6. If you did not turn on the alarm clock, would you go to bed after your scheduled wake-up time?
  7. You use more sleeping pills or over-the-counter sleeping pills than you would like.
  8. You snore a lot or suffer from sleep apnea.