Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 46

GIVE IT A REST If you haven’t stopped to appreciate the effects of sleep (or a lack of it) on yourself and your employees, it’s time for a wake-up call. Sleep is vital. It restocks the body’s immune system to help combat The new on-the-job injury illness and infections, and optimises the body’s metabolic rate. Stress and anxiety – which often manifest as sleeplessness – are a There’s not a single major organ in the body or process within the growing problem in the modern economy. ‘While this modern brain that is not optimally enhanced by sleep, or impaired by a lack world of work is opening up amazing possibilities, it has also of it. brought a new set of challenges and health risks,’ Clement Chinaka, MD of Old Mutual Corporate, said in a recent statement. Chinaka’s To understand how important sleep is, you have to understand what comments came in the wake of the publication of the 2017 Old it does. Sleep is far more than just a passive, ‘non-awake’ state. It’s Mutual Corporate Disability Monitor, which analysed disability an active process with its own very specific cycles and functions. trends in South Africa. One of its key findings was that 43% of survey During sleep your memories are ‘filed away’, as short-term respondents (who were corporate businesses, intermediaries, memories become long-term memories and irrelevant information reinsurers and assessors) reported that the nature of disability claims is discarded. During sleep the body’s cells regenerate, and most had changed. growth takes place. Metabolic processes are put on ‘pause’, while your heart rate and breathing slow down, and your blood pressure ‘Following the digital revolution, it appears that the focus of drops. workplace health issues has shifted from physical injuries to stress- related and psychological problems,’ Chinaka said. Backing this On the other hand, a number of negative things happen when up, 54% of survey respondents cited stress as a leading cause of you don’t sleep. Hundreds of medical studies have investigated disability claims, while 39% cited psychological issues. the relationship between sleep and human performance, showing how sleep deprivation reduces productivity, and forces individuals Old Mutual’s interest in the issue is obvious: as an insurer, it’s paying to take more time to accomplish a goal. As a result, sleep-deprived out more and more disability claims to companies whose workers workers can get trapped in a negative loop of having to work longer aren’t physically injured on the job, but who are being overworked hours, thereby further reducing their sleep times. Brain scans on to the point of exhaustion. sleep-deprived patients show how the frontal lobe – which is critical for self-control and managing emotional impulses – disengages Those stressed, depressed and/or sleepless workers cost the during extreme fatigue. In other words, you’re tired because you’re South African economy a total of R218 billion in lost productivity, cranky … and you’re cranky because you’re tired. according to research by the South African Depression and Anxiety 44 |