Are You Sleeping, Are You Sleeping? Brother John? Brother John? The popular words to this French Nursery Rhyme could now be changed to Brother Joe? Brother Joe? Vice President Joe Biden caused a recent national buzz apparently sleeping during the recent federal budget speech given by President Barack Obama. Julie Chen, television personality, admitted on her show The Talk that she is often nodding off during staff meetings. The Federal Aviation Administration has had to address publicly a wave of air traffic controllers sleeping on the job. There have been 8 recent incidents with one at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. March 2011.
There has been some controversy whether people need more sleep or better sleep. The National Sleep Foundation www.sleepfoundation.orghas determined the average person only sleeps 6 hours and 58 minutes per night which is below the recommended average of 8 hours a night. Sleep deprivation has been known to cause decreased productivity, absenteeism, turnover, and high insurance premiums for employers.
Employers should consider a Sleep Policy as part of their Employee Handbook. Evaluation of sleep disorders should be recommended especially in jobs where sleeping on the job could be detrimental to the employee and those around him such as, air traffic controllers, truck drivers, cab drivers, ups/fedex drivers, ambulance drivers, doctors etc.
Other countries have made proper rest a priority. Germany and Japan offer sleep rooms for employees to grab an afternoon nap. The Spanish have their Siesta time. Sleep Treatment Centers in America have sprung up all over in the last decade. Most hospitals such as Washington Hospital Center of D.C., Doctors Community Hospital of Lanham, MD, Shady Grove Adventist of Rockville, MD, George Washington University Hospital of D.C. and Holy Cross Hospital of Silver Spring, MD offer sleep evaluations and treatment. Most of the centers agree to the following simple steps to a better night’s sleep:
- Keep the same pattern of sleeping hours even on the weekends. Playing catch up throws your body’s natural rhythm off.
- Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol late in the day.
- Don’t use electronic devices an hour before bed. Yes, no phones, computers, video games, etc.
- Dark room therapy has been known to help most people. Turn off the lights, television etc.
- Exercise regularly but 2-3 hours before bed.
- Choose the right mattress and pillow. The sleep number bed or the posturepedic mattresses have become very popular.
- Have a sleep ritual. Take a warm shower, read a book or listen to relaxing music.
- Never eat heavy meals or drink before bedtime.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine cravings may keep you awake at night.
- Keep your room at a temperature that helps you sleep.
Don’t be the next one caught sleeping on the job.