Stress and Sleep Deprivation in the Workforce

20 Jan 2017

As South Africans the majority of us work exceptionally hard to provide for our families. Normal work hours of 9-5 is a gross understatement in the case of the average house hold,simply because we are Mothers and Fathers.Many of us get home after a long day tired and exhausted and have to tend to our children. Often 24 hours a day does not seem long enough.

At times we feel unsupported by our employers .South Africa was ranked as the second most stressed country in the world by a Bloomberg study.Reuters and Ipsos did a study and found that more than 50% of South Africans do not use their annual leave.With that being said the workforce is obviously tired and stressed.Occupational Care South Africa (OCSA) and Statistics South Africa stated that the South African economy is losing 12-16 Billion a year due to workforce absenteeism. OCSA reported that as many as 15 % are absent on a work day and only 1 in 3 is medically sick.

So as South Africans we are tired and stressed.Tasks can seem never ending.The reporting of Stress, Anxiety, Sleep deprivation as well as Depression are on the rise because of it.Sleep deprivation is the highest statistic linked to reduced productivity in workforce reported by OCSA.

How can we as the average South African feel better fast?

Sleep is an essential to function throughout the day. Without sleep our body is fragile and we are more moody, more anxious and generally we are on a short fuse.Here are some tips to get a better nights sleep.

What to do at Home to Sleep Better

  • Once you get home get out of your work clothes.
  • Invest in a comfortable bed and consider buying black out curtains.
  • Have a routine before going to bed that includes time to relax, such as soaking in the bath or reading a good book.
  • Do not use phones or computers before going to bed, the light from the device in various studies has been shown to over stimulate and cause sleeplessness.
  • Technology and food stays out of the bedrooom, it is your sanctuary. Always keep bedroom tidy. 
  • Do not go to bed with a full stomach, allow 2 hours after eating before going to bed
  • Once a week cook a few meals in one day and freeze individual portions.Take out portions needed before heading to work.

Healthy Body for Sleep

  • Herbal Teas such as Chamomile,are known for their relaxing properties, you may find the taste strong so add a little fruit juice or lemon to disguise.
  • Magnesium is a natural tranquiliser and can be found in food sources such as almonds, sesame seeds or taken orally in tablet form.Always check with your doctor before taking a new supplement.
  • Vitamin D deficiency can cause insomnia and depression especially if people are office workers.Sunlight is necessary for the body to produce Vitamin D. 15 minutes a day is all you need
  • Exercise yes, we are often too tired to exercise .However the feel good hormones are released during exercise. During exercise your bodies' core temperature increases . Once your bodies' core temperature decreases your body will feel tired, that can take a few hours.So it's often best to train a few hours before bedtime as the increase in core temperature can cause a delay in sleep.
  • Foods and drinks that should be avoided in the hours before bedtime are those containing Caffeine in any beverage, chocolates and sweets.
  • Best foods to eat for sleep are Low GI foods, food will digest at different rates, the faster it digests the more hungry and tired you are.Low GI foods leave you feeling fuller for longer and allow you to eat less calories without feeling hungry and tired.

Healthy Mind for Sleep

  • Breath work, focusing on your breath calms and distracts the mind, I have attached a breathing technique, where your legs are placed up against a wall or head board to increase the blood flow to your brain which calms you down.
  • Positive attitude, saying I can not sleep means you will not sleep.Change your attitude during the day and say "I am going to get a good night's sleep".
  • Nature has a very calming affect so go outside into the garden barefoot. On weekends be sure to spend time in nature.Going for a walk alone often leads to troubles drifting away.
  • Appearance, learn to feel good about yourself and get exercising and dress well .Look in the mirror and say "I am perfect just the way I am"
  • Acceptance is one of the hardest things to do. Trying to accept what is, is not easy but remembering things will not always be like this and "this too shall pass"."What you resist persists" so learn the art of surrendering to what is.
  • Journaling, write all your worries in a book,continue until your mind goes quiet and before finishing write down "I am finished or is there more".If nothing comes up write down "I am done writing".However if more comes to mind carry on writing.Dont worry how long it will take, write as many pages as you need .Get it all out!!
  • Make a list before bed of what you need to do the next day  

What Can you do as an Employer

  • Make time for wellness initiatives in the workforce
  • Maybe Invest in Corporate Exercise Classes and Wellness Programs
  • Be sure to contact us at Karmically Fused for any Corporate exercise classes or wellness days

All in all as South Africans we need to care for ourselves and stop neglecting our health through lack of sleep etc. It not only affects us but those around us.Our family and friends are often affected by our moods.As South Africans we need to be more efficient, we have an amazing country. Let's strive to make South Africa the place to be.

Love to all 

xxx

Claire Buck

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