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Sleeping Less During Pandemic Can Be Dangerous for Workers

A recent study shows that Americans are sleeping less — and worse — since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the nation. According to a survey of more than 1,000 people, the coronavirus has disrupted their sleep patterns, both during lockdown and even now as restrictions are being lifted.

Sleep experts have long stressed the importance of getting quality sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to a greater risk of workplace accidents, motor vehicle crashes, and personal health problems. Researchers have also found that fatigue can impair people in the same way that alcohol can.

Top 10 Risks of Tired Workers

If you’re tired on the job, you put both yourself and others at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists 10 ways that fatigue puts workers in danger:

  • Improper safety enforcement, leading to major injury
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Poor decision-making and risk-taking behaviors
  • Memory problems and difficulty processing information
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Added risks for shift workers
  • Less tolerance for stress
  • Reduced productivity
  • Long-term effects of fatigue
  • Potential for missing signs of overtired workers

How to Manage Workplace Fatigue

Even during normal conditions, people experience periods of poor sleeping. Developing strategies to get the best sleep possible can make you a safer and healthier worker.

The Mayo Clinic outlines these steps to healthier sleeping:

  • Set a regular sleep schedule: Determine a reasonable bedtime routine and stick to it. The body has a built-in circadian rhythm to help it prepare for sleep at night. If you develop a steady pattern for going to bed and waking up on time, your body can get regulated to that schedule. Contrary to what many think, you can’t “bank” sleep by sleeping in on the weekends and staying up late on weekdays.
  • Eat and drink well: Avoid caffeine before bed. It can take hours to wear off. It’s also a good idea not to go to bed on an empty stomach or while you’re too full.
  • Sleep in a restful place: Make your sleeping area calm, quiet, and cool. Other ideas to create an optimal sleep environment is by getting blackout curtains to limit sunlight, a white noise machine or earplugs to omit outside sounds, and a ceiling fan to keep the room from getting stuffy.
  • Limit napping during the day: It’s important to nap if you’re dangerously tired. Try to nap early in the day and for no longer 30 minutes.
  • Exercise: Add activity to your day, just not two hours before bedtime.
  • Express worries before bed: Got a lot on your mind? Jot down your feelings and concerns in a journal before bedtime. That can help them from intruding on your thoughts as you try to sleep.
  • See a doctor: A lack of sleep could be a sign of a sleep disorder. Talk to a doctor if you have persistent sleep problems.

Experienced Workplace Injury Attorneys in South Carolina

Injured on the job? If your work environment was exhausting or the nature of your occupational duties caused you to become overtired, you could have a valid workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina.

Workers’ comp claims are often complex, particularly when it comes to proving that an employee suffers from occupational fatigue. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney at Land Parker Welch LLC, can help prepare a claim and fight for maximum benefits for South Carolinians.

If you’ve been hurt in Sumter, Manning, Summerton, Kingstree, Mayesville, Turbeville, New Zion, Bishopville, or anywhere in South Carolina, turn to our law firm for help.

Call or contact us today for a free consultation.