If you’re suffering sleepless nights, you can rest assured you’re not alone. It’s estimated that a third of people in the UK experience episodes of insomnia.
To boost your chances of nodding off at night, you might benefit from making improvements to your sleeping environment. For example, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the range of adjustable beds now available, and you might need a better mattress.
However, it’s also important to consider other factors that could be stopping you sinking into a peaceful slumber at the end of each day. One potential cause of your inability to rest may be your job. If you’re wondering whether work is wreaking havoc with your nocturnal habits, it’s worth asking yourself the following questions.
Are you feeling stressed?
It’s tempting to simply accept high stress levels as an unavoidable part of everyday life. However, if you’re under excessive pressure at work, this could be taking its toll on your wellbeing, and on your ability to sleep soundly. Bear in mind that stress affects not only how you feel, think and behave, but also how your body works. It is commonly associated with sleeping problems.
Unfortunately, stress is prevalent in today’s society. Workers are contending with increasingly pressurised environments. Indeed, figures provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the number of reported cases of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2013-14 was 487,000. Meanwhile, a staggering 11.3 million working days were lost due to these problems.
Industries where stress levels were highest included human health and social work, public administration, education and defence.
Do you work unusual hours?
Your employment might also be disrupting your slumber if you work unusual hours. Millions of people around Britain work unsociable hours, and not all of them are able to cope. Night workers are defined as those who regularly work at least three hours between 11pm and 6am, and they can find it especially hard to get to grips with their schedules. Our bodies are adapted to rest during the hours of darkness and to be alert in the daytime. This means that trying to catch up on missed sleep when it’s bright outside can be tricky. While some people eventually get used to this atypical regime, others do not.
According to the HSE, these personnel are at risk of suffering the cumulative effects of a lack of sleep. In addition to making people feel tired and irritable, this can have big implications in terms of safety. Indeed, major disasters including the Bhopal chemical leak, Exxon Valdez oil spill and Chernobyl nuclear blast have all been linked to night workers suffering from fatigue.
What to do
If you believe work-related stress or an unusual schedule is stopping you from getting enough shuteye, now is the time to take action. You might benefit from speaking to your boss to see if changes can be made to your role. Meanwhile, if this doesn’t help, you may need to seek a new position altogether.