Study: Siesta could help fatigued workers

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Photo: judysh, Pixabay

Taking short after-work naps could reduce fatigue, improve productivity and minimise the risks of accidents and injury, a study reveals.

The study suggests that even a fifteen to twenty-minute nap could benefit workers. Dr Siobhan Banks, a senior researcher at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia and an assistant professor of Sleep in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States said siestas will benefit workers especially those engaged in high-intensity work like farmers.

The study suggests that even a fifteen to twenty-minute nap could benefit workers. Dr Siobhan Banks, a senior researcher at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia and an assistant professor of Sleep in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States said siestas will benefit workers especially those engaged in high intensity work like farmers.

“It is important people do what they can to counteract the impact of extra busy times, because farmers can’t just stop planting or harvesting, for example, and get eight hours sleep,” said Dr Banks.

“But if you are a farmer, there are straightforward measures you can take to be better prepared for a time of extra work intensity.

“Go to bed a little earlier each night in the lead up, eat well and exercise; think of it like a marathon runner preparing for an event and your stamina and recovery time will be better,” she said.

Dr Banks said farmers can take short, timely breaks especially during events like harvest, spraying or lambing. She said a short nap in the morning will be less effective.

Dr Banks also advise taking longer breaks during high-risk period for accidents and exhaustion (between 11am and 6pm). Farmers are also advised to stay hydrated, use caffeine in moderation and working in a cool environment by having the air conditioning on in the cabin of their machinery.

“Australians – and I think farmers fall into this category in particular – have strong work ethic, so admitting you need sleep can be perceived as weak or lazy,” said Dr Banks.

“But what need people to understand is there are significant productivity losses if you are working tired.

“Being awake for 17 hours continuously is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol level of 0.5 or 0.08. Your reflexes and coordination are significantly impaired and it’s not the sort of state you want to be in, driving a machine worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

More information about reducing fatigue can be accessed through Sleep Health Foundation.

One thought on “Study: Siesta could help fatigued workers

  1. I have noticed that when I present to council field workers that most cannot stay awake for more than an hour even with breaks.The content is not that boring. They are in an unfamiliar environment and the task is foreign to them. Fatigue for these workers is constant and I wonder what the long term effects on health will be. Long hours, little sleep and often doing boring but dangerous work.
    Not a formula for good health.

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