Is fatigue affecting your work?
It’s 2pm and the legs are achy, the eyelids are heavy, and the adrenaline of the morning has faded after that yummy pasta lunch. The numbers look the same, the meeting you are in is foggy, and…what just happened? Have you ever had those afternoons? Thousands of people each day do and feel the effects of fatigue while at work. It’s a crummy feeling of exhaustion when the body lacks the needed sleep it deserves. So why is this so important? It’s important because so many accidents that occur on the job occur because of a lack of focus derived from being tired.
So why are we so tired? There are a number of reasons listed below that are the most common reasons for fatigue at work:
Sleep Apnea – a condition that occurs causing a person’s breathing to be interrupted during their normal sleep cycle. Apnea is a Greek work that means “want of breath”. The disruption causes the person to awaken several times during the night thus causing a constant interruption in the the sleep cycle. Two to four percent of all Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. This accounts for approximately 1 in 50 individuals being diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Insomnia – when a person has trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep. It’s pretty common for some people to have problems falling asleep but when you have insomnia you can’t sleep regularly for a pattern of 3-4 days in a row. There are many levels of insomnia so if you feel you might be suffering from this have a physician give you a proper diagnosis.
Caffeine – Hey wait! I take caffeine to wake me up! Although that is true, drinking caffeinated drinks late at night can also cause you to have trouble falling asleep at an appropriate time for a good nights rest.
Poor exercise routine – or none at all! But just the word “workout” sounds like “work”! Nevertheless, remaining active helps the body regulate a number of physiological issues that many can connect to healthy energy levels.
How does fatigue affect your ability to work?
It can affect the way you make decisions
Your reaction times can be slower than normal
It can cause errors in judgement
It can impair your memory
The use of sick days will increase
You will see a reduction in productivity and performance
How do you know you might be suffering from fatigue?
A sense of weakness
A loss of appetite
Short term memory loss
Poor hand-eye coordination
8 tips to prevent fatigue at work
There are a number of things you can do to prevent fatigue at work. Try some of the suggestions below that will help you avoid any accidents caused by lack of sleep while you are at work.
Open the shades and let the sun in or turn the lights on! Dim lighting will increase your sense of sleepiness while in contrast a brightly lit room will keep you alert.
Keep the temperature down – turn off the heat! Hey, if you get cold bring a sweater but don’t let the room temperature make you want to crave a comfy couch and a hot coco! When your body is warm it naturally begins to feel sleepy.
Get up and move around! Sitting in a chair all day will make you feel more tired so take a walk to the water cooler or the copy machine and get some of that blood flowing again!
Avoid drinking Caffeine. While it will make you feel awake and alert the effects are not for long. (This is especially a hard one for me!) Once the caffeine and sugar has worn off you can come crashing down and be even more tired than before.
If you can open a window and let the fresh air and sunlight in you can get more stimulated. Either that, or the fly you let in will have the same effect!
Take a break! Get up and move your body and limbs or just take a moment to relax any tension you have.
If you are already feeling fatigued don’t push it. Try not to overload your mind or your body.
If you are truly at the point that one more row of numbers, one more slide on the presentation, or one more phone call will push you over the limit tell your boss. Maybe they can give you an extended break to get some rest or send you home.