Tired Workers Sap U.S. Economy

Ever feel like this? Snoozing at the keyboard Sleeplessness costs U.S. employers more than 18 billion dollars in lost productivity, according to a new survey by Louis Harris & Associates, Inc.

Nearly half of all U.S. workers say they have trouble sleeping and about two-thirds believe that sleeplessness negatively affects how they work when it comes to handling stress, making decisions and solving problems.

Forty-two percent of employees who have difficulty sleeping say they suffer nighttime pain, such as headache, backache and muscle aches, and four in ten workers believe the pain was due to the physical or mental stress of their job. The leading reasons cited for sleeplessness were stress and anxiety. The survey included interviews with a wide range of employed adults, ranging from blue-collar and clerical workers to upper management.

"We know from studies that even occasional insomnia impairs a person's ability to function," said Gary K. Zammit, Ph.D., director of Sleep Disorders Institute at St. Luke's/ Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. "The survey confirms that in these stressed-out times, sleeplessness is affecting a huge part of our work force, and nighttime pain contributes to the problem."

Employed adults who experience sleeplessness do so an average of eight times in a typical month.

When asked about the difficulty they have performing their jobs when sleep deprived, they noted the following reactions:

The survey shows that most workers who experience nighttime pain and sleeplessness have taken pain relief medications to help them sleep, and half of the employees take a product such as Tylenol PM®, which combines a pain reliever with a sleep aid to treat both pain and sleeplessness.

"An over-the-counter medication which combines a pain reliever and a sleep aid may be a solution for occasional insomnia and pain," said Zammit. "Those who experience persistent sleeplessness and pain should see a doctor about the best treatment." (NAPSI)

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