We trust the drivers of planes, trains, trucks, buses, limos and taxis to get us to where we need to be safely. Unfortunately, these workers are likely to suffer sleep problems. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and the 2012 Sleep in America poll, the plane and the train operators were the worst of the bunch. They reported sleep-related job performance more than any other occupation.
Whose sleepiness on the job is affecting their performance and safety?
-More than 25 percent of train operators.
-Roughly 23 percent of pilots.
-Only about 15 percent of non-transportation workers.
Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that sleep is vital to work safety. When employees are sleepy on the job -- accidents happen. It's important that employers are allowing their workers with plenty of time to catch up on some Z's before and after work. This is especially important for workers who are working fluctuating shifts and those who work overnight.
Serious Errors Resulting from Sleepiness:
-One out of every five pilots.
-One out of every six train operators.
-One out of every six truck drivers.
The people listed above say that they've had a "near miss" on the job because of their sleepiness.
Sleepiness isn't only affecting these workers on the job either. It's also affecting their commute to and from work. Again it's the operators of planes and trains that are at risk. According to the 2012 Sleep in America poll, these workers are much more likely than non-transportation workers to be involved in a car accident cause by sleepiness while heading to or from work.
"We should all be concerned that pilots and train operators report car crashes due to sleepiness at a rate that is six times greater than that of other workers," said Dr. Sanjay Patel with Harvard Medical School.
It's these positions in which the margin of error is small. We need these workers to be well-rested and at the top of their game. It's not only going to help to protect them on the job, but it's also going to help to keep each of us safe who rely on their services.
The bottom line: Sleep improves performance.
Advice for the Sleepy:
-Make sure you're lying down and going to bed at the same time each day/night.
-Use your bedroom only for sleep. This will help to strengthen the association between your body and bedtime.
-Make sure your room is dark, cool and quiet. Make it comfortable to you.
-Create a bedtime ritual to help to calm yourself down. You can read a book, take a warm bath, listen to calming music or anything else that will help to ease you into the bed.
-Clear your mind. Keep your worries for the next day. There's no use in worrying yourself out of sleep.
-Make sure you're exercising regularly, but don't do it around bedtime.
-If you suffer from excessive daytime drowsiness, snoring, or episodes of "stop breathing" during sleep, contact your physician or health care professional for a sleep apnea screening.
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