Today I’m announcing Performance Training and Corporate Services in my sleep and fatigue services.
It was the recent release of a report, which will remain nameless, that made me realize just how trivial the sleep discussion still is in Australia – probably overseas too, but lets start here!
Here are some of the problems:
- Most companies in Australia have inadequate Fatigue/Sleep Policies. The leaders in fatigue policy are the companies and organizations that have correctly recognised the significant effect that fatigue can have on the operation of heavy machinery, truck driving, railway and transport workers etc. However, the margin for improvement in companies that seek ‘top performers’ and ‘top performance’ is wide.
- The Fatigue Management Legislation is way behind the game. Too afraid to deal with the politically incorrect issues of medications, drugged, drunk and hungover employees and a myriad of other issues (yes, some definitely related to sleep and fatigue) – most companies would prefer to ignore the issue completely.
- Fatigue and its associated physical and mental health conditions are costing companies, families, children and Australia a fortune. Some of this is very well documented – tens of billions every year. But still we continue to talk about it, and do very little to remedy the situation.
- The Medical System in Australia is after-the-fact oriented. 5 per cent of the health budget is spent on preventative health solutions in Australia. Sleep is a huge issue and related to many other physical and mental health conditions. Where are the preventative trainings, or anything else, that relate to sleep and fatigue management and prevention? The figures from the medical profession themselves, shift workers and ambulance workers in the hospitals etc are some of the most alarming available. Are internship hours in hospitals where lives are at risk, for example, anywhere near “best practice”? How is this allowed to continue?
- Fatigue Management is dealt with in the Wrong Way at the moment. In spite of the fact that the insomnia and sleep disorders are symptoms of an underlying issue, 95.2 per cent of people who visit their doctor with a sleep related issue are prescribed a medication by their doctor. This, by the way, is against the recommendations of the National Prescribing Service. But, well, what the heck! Many of these medications are addictive, cover up the underlying problem, and cause the problem to get worse over time (not my words, by the way – see the NPS website itself).
- Just about no-one is talking about the real solutions. Which include exercise, nutrition, a positive lifestyle, etc. Am I being cynical when I think that maybe there’s no money in hearing the truth?
- Everyone wants a quick fix. Hmmm – behind most of the problem, perhaps? “Can’t sleep, pop a pill”. People buy this story every day. Even when they know it isn’t working. You tell me?
- No-one wants to hear the truth. So you can’t sleep because you are totally stressed at work and you hate your job, your boss, your life? So you can’t sleep because you are drug dependent and don’t know how to deal with that? You can’t sleep properly and you might even have sleep apnea but you don’t want to lose weight, and ask for proper help to do that. You can’t sleep because you are eating and drinking the greatest lot of rubbish that is arguably not even food every day? You can’t sleep because you won’t even exercise every day for 40 minutes or so? Etc etc. But nope, the truth is far too hard to deal with – lets continue and ignore the problem till we screw up something else – relationships, health, secondary illness problems (there is a long list, see other posts), etc.
- Legislation Denial. Who cares that caffeine, sugar and colour-additive loaded drinks are being marketed and sold to our kids? Who cares that there is MSG in foods but it is not shown on the labels, or it might be, but no-one knows that “that wording” actually means MSG. And that’s just MSG, what about the other 30+ food additives that have been associated with sleep disorders? Food labeling laws need an overhaul. And what about sensitivities to other chemicals, such as VOCs and airborne chemicals, even flavourings in toothpaste that can effect sleep for those intolerant to them.
- Psychological Problems. Inadequately funded and managed. A considerable factor in fatigue and sleep related issues. And a whole lot more, of course.
Rant, rant, rant.
Ahem, glad I’ve got some of that off my chest.
So, if you would like to know more – if you think your company would benefit from having your key personnel productive, alert, and happy at work and driving home from work, then email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can help change the situation and increase productivity and profitability for your company or organization.
Even if you would like us to walk you through some of the bottom line costs (I promise this is not a ‘soft’ management issue) we’d be happy to help. Everything from the proven loss of executive function, the 56% of shift workers that fall asleep on the job at least once a week, the most accident prone times of the day (when maybe you should have your staff do something else), the percentage of your staff members taking medications for sleep, (anxiety and depression – also sleep-related), etc etc. Do you have shifts at your workplace that are equivalent to having your employees working at a concentration level the equivalent of being legally drunk. These statistics are now available, ignorance is no longer an excuse.
There are a myriad of simple, proven ideas that are easy to implement. Education is a big factor in people being able to help themselves with these issues.
One less accident at your workplace per year, or a few less absentee or presentee days, will pay for the cost of changing your systems and educating your staff.
Help your top performers do that,