The modern workplace can be fraught with dangers, so companies have taken all kinds of steps to protect their workers, ranging from hard hats and non-slip surfaces to top-down adaptation of safety culture.

One item of safety that gets overlooked is worker fatigue. Deprived of rest, critical cognitive processes become slowed, dull, and less responsive. This creates a perfect storm for workplace disaster. According to a 2018 survey report by the National Safety Council (NSC), two-thirds of the U.S. labor force experiences workplace fatigue. This means that almost 107 million out of the 160 million U.S. workers are affected by occupational fatigue.

It is recommended that adults get between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep to remain healthy, alert, and productive at work. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society consider 7 hours the absolute minimum. A good night’s sleep prepares the body for physical and mental alertness. Promoting getting a good night’s rest at home can increase production and morale at work and create a safer workplace for employees.

Here are some tips to follow to help with your cognitive fatigue, creating a safer work environment for everyone.

  1. Exercise -- Regularly exercise promotes better sleep quality. Doing things as little as going for a 20-minute walk can help you fall asleep faster and get better rest.
  2. Diet -- Try to avoid eating heavy meals packed with carbs and protein before bed. Also, avoid drinking caffeine for up to 6 hours before trying to fall asleep. Caffeine can stay in your system for extended periods making it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
  3. Sleep routine -- It has been proven that waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help in the sleep quality that you get. This means sleeping in on the weekends can throw off your rhythm.
  4. Sleep quality -- For better quality of rest, employees should keep their sleeping area quiet and dark. The bright lights from TVs, iPhones, and other devices have been shown to affect sleep negatively, so encourage staff to avoid bright screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
About the author

Ryan Egan, GSP

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