Although drink driving is socially unacceptable sleep deprivation is so extreme in the UK that one million people are doing the equivalent of getting behind the wheel intoxicated every day, without alcohol passing their lips, having a profound impact on their employer and workplace.
The data, from Vielife’s online health & wellbeing assessment, also shows that one in three (approximately 100 million European working adults) suffer from ‘poor sleep’. These people are living in danger of a semi-conscious existence equal to repeatedly driving their car well over the alcohol limit.
Women are more at risk than men – 35% have poor sleep compared to 31% of men. Depression has a profound correlation with poor sleep.
The survey found people working a five day week generally have better sleep than people working more or less than five days.
Being ‘sleep drunk’ is caused by the tiredness felt after prolonged waking hours which has the equivalent effect as a raised blood alcohol level above the legal limit to drive.
Tony Massey, Vielife’s chief medical officer, said: “Being ‘sleep drunk’ is a common issue that causes personal and work life issues and a healthy lifestyle is at the heart of solving it.”
The data is based on ‘sleep scores’ recorded by users of Vielife’s online health & wellbeing platform. A sleep score indicates the overall quality and satisfaction of a person’s sleep as part of a wider ‘wellbeing score’ used to help people identify and work to improve their health issues.
This research was based on 38,784 assessments of people employed in the UK taken between 2009 and 2011.
By David Woods