Workplace sleepiness: causes, consequences and countermeasures

by Neda Khalafi

Institution: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Year: 2014
Keywords: Alertness; Fatigue Countermeasures; Work Performance; Work Schedules
Record ID: 2029391
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10355/43380


"Sleep deprivation is an epidemic problem in our society that adversely affects the quality and safety of our daily lives. At home and on the job, inadequate sleep is associated with considerable social, financial, and health-related costs, due to instability of waking functions. Research has shown that, sleep deprivation among workers, whether from sleep disorders, lifestyle or shift work, can hinder the proper performance, and in extreme cases may pose hazard to the workers themselves and their environment. Deficits in daytime performance can have profound effects in the processing industry where workers are often required to perform monotonous tasks that provide low levels of stimulation but also involve critical decision making and problem solving skills. This study provides a comprehensive literature review of the current scientific research efforts in order to promote a better understanding of the relationship between sleep deprivation, productivity, performance, health and safety of the organizations. It highlights the consequences of insufficient sleep for workplace functioning and the ways in which workplace characteristics and lifestyle choices may affect sleep quality and quantity. Moreover, the adverse impact of poor sleep on organizations has been addressed through deficits in attention, concentration, memory, cognitive functioning and reaction time as well as increased incidence of anxiety, lower motivation and poor social relationship. Findings indicate that such destabilized behavioral outcomes can lead to increased rates of performance losses, absenteeism, physical or psychological injuries in addition to human errors and accidents. Finally a variety of countermeasure strategies including caffeine, bright light, exercise, task design, sleep education and scheduling policies are discussed as potential measures to maintain workers' alertness and performance. A preliminary survey is also presented in order to explore the performance of individuals in industrial settings and the potential impact of inadequate sleep. The results indicate the need for further research on workplace sleepiness and the potential issues to consider. It is important for managers to take such human limitations into consideration in order to decrease errors, reduce job dissatisfaction and improve organizational productivity and safety." – Abstract, page iv.