Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 47

Group (SADAG). Of that, R28 billion is attributed to absenteeism (unscheduled absence from work), and R190 billion to presenteeism (working when you’re unwell). Most depressing of all are the results of a 2015 Boston University study, which found that overworking actually makes no difference at all. Managers in the study could not tell the difference between Fatigue and sleep deprivation in general can have a huge impact on your life, with negative effects on both the body and the mind. ” employees who worked an 80-hour week and those who just pretended to. What’s more, the study found no evidence that those ‘pretending’ workers accomplished less than their double-time Finding rest colleagues; nor any evidence that the overworking employees While it’s not the only sleep accomplished more than the ones who did no actual work. disorder, sleep apnoea is certainly The dangers of sleep deprivation one of the most common. In this potentially serious – and often chronic – Seeking to combat the effects of employee fatigue and burnout, disorder, the patient repeatedly stops breathing France introduced a law in 2017 that establishes workers’ ‘right during sleep. Symptoms include loud snoring, and feeling tired to disconnect’. This law requires companies with more than 50 even after a full night’s shuteye. ‘The bulk of patients at most sleep employees to set hours during which staff are not allowed to send or centres around the world come in for sleep apnoea,’ says Dr Marlene answer work-related emails. The law aims to ensure that employees Gounder, a clinical neurophysiologist at the Sleep Disorder Centre are fairly paid for their work, while also preventing burnout by at Cape Town’s Life Vincent Palotti Hospital. ‘Most are your snorers protecting their private time and encouraging them to ‘switch off’. or your constantly tired patients. In many cases they get quantity, but not quality, of sleep.’ Similarly, in 2014, German automotive company Daimler allowed employees who went away on holiday to forego out-of-office email Dr Gounder says that sleep centres will monitor a patient overnight, replies, and rather have all new emails automatically deleted while and provide diagnostic information as to why they are not sleeping they were away. effectively. ‘Patients often wait far too long,’ she says, ‘so in many cases by the time we see them they’ve had the symptoms for years. These changes to company culture may seem drastic, but they make Fortunately there is more awareness about sleep deprivation these sense in the long run. When workers are fatigued or sleep deprived, days, so people know more about it. Google also helps a lot of they put themselves and others at risk. Disasters like the nuclear patients to realise that they have the symptoms.’ incidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the grounding of the Star Princess cruise ship, and the catastrophic Exxon Valdez oil spill Gounder emphasises that patients who are sleep deprived simply have all been attributed to worker fatigue. In 2003, the South African cannot function as they should. ‘They do not have optimal function Medical Journal cited a Wits University study that showed that, during the day,’ she says. ‘Fatigue and sleep deprivation in general of a small sample of 102 Gauteng truck drivers, some 9% showed can have a huge impact on your life, with negative effects on both signs of sleep apnoea, while 23% reported regular snoring. Wits the body and the mind.’ Speaking about conditions like sleep physiologist and study author Claudia Maldonado reported positive apnoea specifically, Gounder says that these are linked to many correlations between sleep apnoea and vehicle accidents. This other medical conditions. She lists these as including high blood finding was supported by insurance companies, which reported a pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, stroke, depression, anxiety, road accident rate that’s two to five times higher among drivers with panic attacks, mood swings, weight gain … sleep apnoea. ‘The list goes on,’ she says. ‘Whatever happens during the night Consider the results of a University of New South Wales study affects your day, and whatever happens during the day affects your published in 2000 in the journal Occupational and Environmental night.’ Medicine, which found that being awake for 17 hours straight is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. Being awake for 20 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.1%. It’s worth remembering that in South Africa, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Corina Rosca & Mark van Dijk www.estate-living.co.za | 45