Stress and accidents: Tiredness

distressed man

Accident Advice Helpline’s guide to stress in the workplace

In recent years, mental health has become just as important, in the health and safety of employees as physical health. The modern world of targets and deadlines, coupled with the current economic climate, means that employees are under ever more pressure in their place of work, causing stress leading to tiredness and an increase in the risk of accidents in the workplace.

I’m under a lot of stress at work at the moment and it’s causing me to lose sleep leading to extreme tiredness. Is this bad for my health?

A lack of sleep is detrimental to your health. According to the NHS, sleep is essential to boost your immune system, maintain your mental well-being, increase fertility, and to prevent diabetes and heart disease. The odd night’s lack of sleep won’t do much harm to your health, but can result in a person not feeling their best, perhaps being irritable and unable to concentrate on their daily tasks. This leads to an increased risk of work-related injury. After a few days of lack of sleep, the effects become more pronounced with obvious tiredness.

Recent research by a US team published in the journal of science, showed brain cells shrink during sleep to open up the gaps between neurons and allow spinal fluid to wash the brain clean. They also suggest that failing to clear away some toxic proteins may play a role in brain disorders.

Many conditions which lead to the loss of brain cells, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, are characterised by the build-up of damaged proteins in the brain.

How much sleep should I be getting?

You should aim to get around eight hours sleep per night in order to function properly and reduce tiredness – but some people require more and others require less. It’s important to find out just how much sleep you need and then try and achieve that. As a general rule, if you feel drowsy and tired throughout the day and are constantly looking for a nap, this is an indication that you’re not getting enough sleep.

What causes lack of sleep?

Stress in the workplace can be a major contributing factor to lack of sleep. Stress, depression and anxiety are all common causes of lack of sleep. If you are feeling constantly anxious then you may be suffering from generalised anxiety disorder and should consider seeing your doctor.

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