UK employees not getting enough sleep due to workplace stress

UK workers not sleeping on the job - but because of the jobThe death last month of an intern at a major City bank drew attention to the ridiculously long hours worked by those attempting to carve out a career within the banking sector. Now a new report has confirmed that workers within the banking profession have the least amount of sleep across the UK, coping on average with just five hours and 50 minutes every night. But the annual sleep and professions report conducted by Travelodge reveals that British workers are surviving on just six hours and 27 minutes sleep every night – one hour and thirty three minutes below the recommend sleep quota of eight hours of sleep per night. Three out of ten workers have reported that they get less sleep now in comparison to a year ago, whilst a fifth of employees regard sleep a luxury. 

The survey of 2,000 British workers found that having a heavy workload, feeling undervalued, working to constant tight deadlines and having to deal with irritating colleagues are the top workplace pressures that are stealing one hour and 14 minutes of British workers’ sleep every night.

Listed below are the top ten most popular work related bedtime worries that are keeping British workers awake at night.

1. Heavy workload
2. Job dissatisfaction
3. Feeling undervalued
4. Irritating co-workers
5. Job security
6. Imminent deadlines
7. Poor delegation
8. Long hours
9. Pay
10. Quality of output

While banking workers spend one hour and 40 minutes worrying about work between the sheets – with heavy workloads and job security cited as the two most common reasons, public sector workers are amongst the most likely of all to be kept awake by work anxiety.

The survey found that seniority in the workplace brings an ability to sleep for longer and to worry about work less. Of all the workers polled, senior managers sleep best at seven hours and 30 minutes each night – meaning that they spend 93 per cent of their time in bed fast asleep – having put work out of their mind in just 11 minutes.

Stevie Williams, Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: “Research shows that frequently not getting enough sleep has strong negative effects on health and performance. Relaxation techniques such as meditating or having long showers or baths, as well as avoiding caffeine and winding down just before bed by staying away from high intensity interactive technology can all help aid stress management, making it easier to fall asleep and maintain that sleep.

This growing problem of sleep deprivation is not just affecting Britons welfare but is also hitting the British economy too, as over a fifth (21%) of adults surveyed reported they have pulled a one-day ‘sickie’ from work over the last 12 months due to being up the night before worrying about work.

This means that 6.25 million sick days* have been taken as a result of worrying about work in bed, which is 2.8 million more than the 3.4 million sick days taken in 2008 due to lack of sleep.