A new campaign called “Sleep Works for You” encourages employers to help workers avoid fatigue and develop healthy sleep habits for long-term success and well-being.

The campaign is an effort of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, which includes partners the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Sleep Research Society, and the National Safety Council.

“Working long hours and sleeping less than the recommended seven or more hours has become a badge of honor in many industries, despite evidence that proves a lack of sleep hurts productivity, safety, and overall health,” said Dr. Ilene Rosen, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “It is essential for employers to promote health and safety by creating a workplace culture that values the importance of sleep.”

The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project is encouraging employers to promote sleep health in the workplace with three steps:

1. Learn about sleepiness in the workplace, its costs, its causes, and how fatigue can lead to a higher rate of safety incidents.

2. Educate employees on fatigue, sleep health, and sleep disorders, as well as strategies to improve alertness on the job, as part of a comprehensive employee wellness program.

3. Investigate the causes of fatigue in the workplace and implement fatigue risk management as part of a safety management system.

“Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep problem, and nearly 60% of them have a chronic disease that can harm their overall health,” said Janet Croft, senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lack of sleep and sleep disorders, including stops in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), excessive daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy), restless legs syndrome, and insomnia, are increasingly recognized as linked to chronic disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, and cancer.”

According to the National Safety Council, fatigued workers cost employers about $1,200 to $3,100 per employee in declining job performance each year.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released a research brief estimating that drowsy driving is involved in up to 9.5% of all motor vehicle crashes.

For more information, go to www.projecthealthysleep.org.

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