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Why You Feel Sleepy In The Office

April 11, 2016

How Ergonomic Chairs Can Help With Tiredness At Work

If you have been feeling unusually tired at work, you may be suffering with a condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea or OSA. This is a relatively common sleeping disorder but many people are not aware that they have it.

Sleeping Disorders And Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Sleeping disorders are very common and include insomnia and narcolepsy along with around 80 other types of disorder, according to specialists. OSA is a little less well known but is thought to affect 1-2% of the population, usually males over the age of 40.

During the night, an individual with OSA will stop breathing for between 10 and 30 seconds as the airways become obstructed when soft tissue and muscle of the throat and tongue collapse. The brain kicks in and briefly awakens the individual so that breathing starts again, but this means that their deep sleep is disrupted and a full sleep cycle cannot take place. The result of this is daytime sleepiness (along with regular snoring).

The common treatment for OSA is using a “continuous positive air pressure” or CPAP machine that is used during the night. This is a mask that forces air into your airways, keeping them open and allowing a deep sleep to occur.

Why Is This A Problem At Work?

In addition to chronic tiredness, people with obstructive sleep apnoea may also have reduced concentration and memory problems, which could affect their job performance as well as leading to lower attendance and lower stamina. This is particularly important for people who drive or operate heavy machinery as part of their job. It should also be noted that people with OSA need to inform the DVLA of their condition, and failure to do so could result in large fines or prosecution if you are involved in an accident.

Sleep disorders have been shown to increase both the likelihood of taking time off work as well as the length of time taken. Those with sleep disorders are also more likely to suffer from other physical or mental health problems and retire earlier than average. Therefore, it is vital to address the issue in the workplace.

How To Relieve Your Daytime Sleepiness

Sleep is an important part of your health and wellbeing. When sleep apnoea and daytime sleepiness begin to affect your work life, steps need to be taken in order to adjust your working environment to your needs.

You may wish to make some lifestyle changes that will improve your general wellbeing in order to feel your best during the day. At work, employers should consider giving individuals with OSA longer breaks, more flexible working times and also increasing natural lighting in the office.

One other helpful addition to the home or to the office is an ergonomic chair. These are specialised chairs that allow people to sit in comfort, often in a reclined position. The ergonomic chair can support the natural movements of the body and the shape of the spine allowing people to sit in comfort. This has been shown to increase concentration and alertness, which would be particularly helpful to those who are feeling sleepy, and therefore can boost productivity.

So, if you have been feeling tired at work lately, there may be more to your sleepiness than you thought.  You should consider making helpful changes to your environment and trying an ergonomic chair to keep you more alert during the day.

Patrick Boland is the CEO of H&M Ergo Seating, who supply heavy-duty office seating. Patrick believes that comfortable employees are happier and more productive.

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