Insomnia At Work


Posted to Nursing, Nursing Jobs

Insomnia costs the average American employee 11.3 days a year, or $2,280, in lost productivity. A recent report from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that insomnia is affecting 23 percent of U.S. workers and creates a national cost of $63.2 billion for the sleeping disorder. “We were shocked by the enormous impact insomnia has on the average person’s life,” said study author Ronald Kessler, a psychiatric epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School. He also adds that main impact is not that U.S. workers are staying home due to sleeplessness; they still go to work, but are far less productive. The study results were from a national sampling of 7,428 employees. Insomnia was more prevalent among working women than males and also significantly lower among workers aged 65 and older.

Americans are accomplishing less at work because they are tired and, in an information-based economy, it is difficult to imagine a condition that has a more profound effect on productivity. How does insomnia affect nurses in particular? A new survey of 2,082 nurses found that more than one quarter (27.23%) of nurses suffer from insomnia, 32.10% had trouble staying asleep, 12.52% had difficulties falling asleep, and 55% suffer from a combination of both symptoms. The nursing study also reveals that insomnia contributes to a significant increase in medication dispensing errors, chart deviations from standard practice and falling asleep unintentionally at work. In addition, this study found that despite the negative impact insomnia was making on their professional lives, only 30% of those nurses surveyed sought professional care to address the problem.

“The pressure of shift work and the high demands of our round-the-clock society, often result in the development of insomnia, which is a significant contributing factor to workplace errors that may compromise safety,” said Dr. Mark Rosekind, president and chief scientist of Alertness Solutions, the company that conducted the survey. The results from the study show that insomnia clearly affects nurse’s productivity, performance and safety, regardless of the type of insomnia experienced. However, in spite of these serious effects that were reported, the insomnia is rarely addressed. Dr. Rosekind adds that the findings remind us that sleep is not a luxury but rather a necessity. There are effective treatments for insomnia which include behavioral and medication interventions that will help improve the lives of those affected by insomnia.

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