Sleep is a subject that too many people take lightly. Deprivation of this essential process causes you to be exposed to a significant number of health risks. You are more likely to become obese or suffer from other serious diseases, such as problems with your heart. The short-term effects of sleep deprivation are just as alarming. You feel tired, and concentration becomes something that sometimes seems impossible.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the way people in the United States sleep. This does not only have an impact on an individual, but it will also essentially cause further declines in the efficacy and success of many businesses.
Many companies have opted to allow their employees to work from home. With a spike in sleep deficiency statistics among US residents, companies now face a risk of employees who will be tired on the job – and many who prefer to spend their time on activities like Netflix instead of ensuring they get enough sleep.
Coronavirus Is Increasing Sleep Deficiency Statistics
Sleep is a process that we all need every single day. In every 24-hour period, you need to sleep for a minimum of seven hours. When you do not sleep enough, you face health risks. In the United States, at least 35.2% of adults fail to sleep for seven hours every night. People between the age of 35 and 54 have the highest risk of sleep deficiency.
With the coronavirus pandemic, there seems to be a further increase in sleep deprivation. New surveys have been conducted to determine whether the pandemic is having an effect on sleep among the general population, and these surveys have found that the virus does seem to affect how people have been sleeping in recent weeks.
One study surveyed over 1,000 adults in the United States. The age range included people from 18 years and older. Most of the participants in the survey were female, with 43% of them being male.
Interesting findings were made by the study. It seems like about 76.8% of American adults feel that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting their sleep, with only 23.2% of respondents reporting normal sleep do during these worrisome times.
There are different reasons why people have problems sleeping during the pandemic. The most commonly reported reasons included:
- Feeling anxious about the pandemic and the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the country.
- Worrying about loved ones and their safety during the pandemic we are facing.
- Feeling lonely due to the implementation of lockdowns.
- Not following a consistent sleep schedule during the pandemic.
According to Sleep Standards, more than half of the people who responded to the pandemic reports sleeping at least one hour less per 24-hour period compared to the time before the pandemic started. On the other hand, about 19% of the respondents claim to sleep more during the pandemic.
Even though there is a rise in sleep deprivation, only 11% of people reported that they want to improve their sleep quality and patterns while remaining home during the lockdowns that are being implemented. This is an alarming factor. People preferred watching Netflix, playing video games, and exercising over sleep.
How The Rise In Sleep Deprivation Is Affecting Businesses
Business owners need to realize that the rise in sleep deprivation could have a serious impact on internal productivity. The productivity within a business is a critical element when it comes to the success of a business, and this statement is even more valid as the world is facing the coronavirus pandemic.
Sleep deficiency has both long-term and short-term effects on people. The short-term complications will have an immediate effect on your business.
When an employee fails to get enough sleep, they will feel tired and experience fatigue the next day. This is accompanied by cognitive dysfunction, which refers to problems concentrating while they work. The employee will find it difficult to focus on specific tasks. Employees suffering from sleep deficiencies will not be able to perform certain tasks at maximum efficacy. This means they may take longer to do their job – which results in less work getting done in a single day.
At the same time, errors made by these employees increase. When the employee feels tired and unable to concentrate, they will be more likely to make mistakes. These mistakes can sometimes be costly to your business. Sure, sometimes the mistakes are easy to fix. But there are times where it can take hours to fix a simple mistake made by an employee.
There are other ways that the increase in sleep deficiency during the pandemic will affect your business. Another area of concern is the immune health of your employees.
Sleep regulates the immune system, so when your employees do not get enough sleep, they have weaker immune systems. In one scientific study, researchers explain that sleep affects two important areas of the immune system. This includes both the adaptive and the innate arm of the immune system. The immune system is a defensive mechanism in the human body that helps to protect you against invaders – like the virus that is causing millions of people to experience the COVID-19 infection.
A weaker immune system means your employees will be more vulnerable to illness. They can catch the COVID-19 infection faster than they would with stronger immunity. Sure, we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is not the only illness that can affect your employees. When your employees have a weak immune system, it means they will be more vulnerable to the common cold, influenza, and other infections.
The result is an increase in sick days requested by your employees. The pandemic is already having a significant impact on business operations. When your employees are unable to work due to illness, it means business operations fall behind. During the pandemic, you are relying on all operations going smoothly to ensure your business does not suffer too much in these dire times.
Improving Employee Sleep During The COVID-19 Pandemic
You need to realize the impact that both the COVID-19 virus and its effect on sleep have on your business. With this in mind, implementing a method to improve employee sleep might be one way to fight against the corporate damage caused by the pandemic we are facing.
There are a few ways to address this issue. The methods that work depend on whether your employees are still coming to the office or working from home.
When your employees are still able to come to the office during the pandemic, then consider a few of these tips:
- Motivate employees to move more in the office.
- Avoid providing coffee to employees too late in the afternoon. The caffeine in the coffee might cause them to experience sleeping difficulties later that night.
- Provide a few healthy snacks in the office. Nuts are important, and maybe a way of providing specific nutrients that could improve sleep.
- Make sure employees switch off when they leave the office. Ask them to leave work at the office, and that includes the stress that comes with the tasks they need to perform at the office. When the employee takes work home, they are likely to spend a lot of time worrying about getting things done.
When employees work from home, getting them to improve their sleeping habits can be a bit more challenging. Having regular meetings with your employees can be a helpful tactic. During these meetings, talk about their sleeping habits.
Sending out information that helps the employee better understand the situation with the coronavirus can be helpful. Many employees are not sure if their jobs are secure during the pandemic. It would be useful if you could shed some light on this subject. When your employees are not sure if they will still have a job in the coming months, it means they may lay awake with stress at night. By putting their minds at ease, you will ensure they do not stress about becoming unemployed during the pandemic.
You should also provide employees who work from home a list of strategies that can help them sleep better during the pandemic. This can help to educate your employees. In turn, they may follow these instructions and find that their sleep improves, resulting in be better productivity.
A few tips that you can share with your employees include:
- Try to limit coffee and other caffeine drinks later in the day.
- Do not eat too late at night.
- Exercise during the day. Exercise is crucial for improving sleep at night.
- Limit technology exposure before going to bed. This means putting the phone down when you get into bed.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us. Businesses are at risk of losing significant amounts of money due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. With a further increase in the already alarming rate of sleep deficiency, there are additional worries that business owners now need to face. When employees do not get enough sleep, it means they will not be as focused on their tasks as they could be. In turn, this leads to lower productivity, which could enhance the already devastating effects that the pandemic has on U.S. businesses.
About the Author: Chris Norris is the Founder & Chief Editor at SleepStandards.com - A health blog that provides research-based sleep health advice, actionable sleep tips, and unbiased sleep product reviews. He aims to inspire better sleep and make the world of sleep easy to understand for everyday people. Check out SleepStandards.com to find out more about Chris and his work.