Insomnia Affecting Younger Worker Productivity

younger worker insomia

Daytime fatigue, psychological problems, and even traffic incidents are all linked to sleep disorders, prompting specialists to investigate work efficiency declines among up to 20% of young Australians impacted by sleep disorders.

The recent research conducted by Flinders University utilized information from the West Australian longitudinal Raine Study Generation 2 group, comprising 554 individuals at the age of 22. The study identified substantial reductions in workplace productivity among young Australian adults, primarily attributable to insomnia.

The latest research demonstrated that individuals aged 22 with diagnosed sleep disorders experienced workplace productivity losses up to 40% higher compared to their counterparts without such disorders.

“The findings indicate that young individuals with clinically significant sleep disorders endure a total workplace productivity loss equivalent to approximately four weeks over the course of 12 months. In contrast, those without such disorders experience less than one week of productivity loss,” stated Amy Reynolds, Associate Professor in Clinical Sleep Health at Flinders University. Reynolds, who spearheaded the study, published these results in the Medical Journal of Australia.

“Based on the earlier Raine study, it was revealed that approximately 20% of the surveyed young adults had a prevalent clinical sleep disorder. Consequently, our current research aims to investigate the extent to which these disorders impact individuals in their workplace settings,” explained the motive behind the study by the Flinders University team.

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“The key takeaway is the high prevalence of sleep disorders among young adults and the significant impact these disorders have on both the individuals themselves and their workplaces,” emphasizes the Flinders University research team.

“By middle age, it’s obstructive sleep apnoea that’s more prevalent, so it does change across the lifespan.

“But in young workers, it is insomnia which is more common, rather than other sleep problems, and is driving productivity loss.”

Associate Professor Reynolds, a provisional psychologist working with the Insomnia Treatment Program at Flinders University, highlights that the productivity loss is primarily attributed to a phenomenon known as ‘presenteeism’.

“So, they’re at work, but they’re just not working to their best capacity or potential.”

The Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute Sleep Research group, formerly known as the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, considers the support and management of sleep disorders as a top priority. The researchers within the group are dedicated to addressing and advancing this important area of study.

Senior co-author Professor Robert Adams, along with his colleagues, is actively working towards equipping general practitioners (GPs) in primary care with the necessary tools and resources to provide appropriate and evidence-based care for sleep disorders across all segments of the population. Their focus lies in ensuring that healthcare professionals have the means to address sleep disorders comprehensively in various healthcare settings.

Promoting access to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) among young individuals can be instrumental in reducing the reliance on sleeping tablets or other interventions that may not effectively address long-term sleep issues. By supporting young people in accessing CBTi, the aim is to provide them with a sustainable solution for managing their sleep problems without solely relying on medication or short-term interventions.

The Australian Management of Sleep Apnea and Insomnia in Primary Care (MOSIP) trial, conducted at Flinders University, aims to provide support to general practitioners (GPs) in effectively managing two prevalent sleep disorders: insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These disorders have a significant impact on over 4 million Australians and result in an annual cost of at least $66 billion. The MOSIP trial strives to enhance primary care interventions for these conditions, ensuring better management and outcomes for affected individuals.

The Australian Management of Sleep Apnea and Insomnia in Primary Care (MOSIP) trial based at Flinders University is seeking to support GPs to manage two of the most common sleep disorders – insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea, or OSA – which affect more than 4 million Australians and costing at least $66 billion annually.

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