The impact of sleep deprivation was highlighted in the 2023 Healthier Nation Index published by Nuffield Health. The report revealed the trends among UK workers in their health patterns – including their sleep. Sleep is highlighted as essential to ensure productivity and well-being. However, the research has revealed that UK workers are not getting enough sleep.
Averaging at less than 6 hours per night, UK workers are getting less sleep compared to the 2022 survey and the NHS recommendation of 7 to 9 hours. This poses them to the risk of decreased overall well-being, productivity and mood – among others.
As sleep is essential, both workers and employers must acknowledge the findings and implications of the lack of sleep and work towards increasing them. Employee well-being programmes should promote the importance of getting enough sleep to curb the decline in productivity, mental health and well-being.
2023 Healthier Nation Index
Within the report, they included a section on sleep. As mentioned before, this section highlighted that UK workers are only sleeping for less than six hours a night. The number shown in this year’s report is a drop from last year’s which was over than six hours.
The report show that 36.5% have 4 to 6 hours of sleep, 10.9% have 2 to 4 hours and 1.8% have less than 2 hours. For the individuals getting more sleep, 38.9% are having 6 to 8 hours, 7.8% have 8 to 10 hours and 1.4% more than 10 hours.
What they highlighted as most concerning is the 45% of adults reporting that this past year they have had less sleep compared to previous year. Further, 48.6% admit that their sleep quality has decreased in the past 12 months.
Among the portion of adults that experience worsening of their sleep quality, 25.4% say they have slightly lower sleep quality and 23.2% say they get much lower sleep quality.
Further, the report elaborated on the effects of poor sleep. They mentioned that the survey revealed that low mood, lower productivity, increased chance of being unwell, struggle in eating healthy and loss of motivation to socialise or exercise are some of the effects of not having enough sleep.
Sleep Deprivation: Impacts on Productivity
According to studies by Hult Business School, poor sleep can lead to various unwanted effects. They mentioned that being tired has the same effect on performance as being drunk. They stated that being awake for 17 hours equals to having two glasses of wine and being awake for 24 hours equals to four.
Poor sleep affects speech, motor functioning, aggression and impulse levels memory, decision-making and problem-solving.
Various skills could be affected by sleep deprivation. Their report mentioned that comprehension and communication, innovation, emotional intelligence, risk assessment, and multi-tasking skills are all affected by lack of sleep. Overall, critical leadership skills are the ones that are most impacted.
Further, employees who are not having enough sleep show that they are more irritable, stressed and prone to miss work due to health problems. They are also shown to be less focused, cooperative and innovative.