Safety, Stress and Sleep
Staying safe is an important component in maintaining good health, and two factors that contribute significantly to our ability to stay safe are getting adequate rest and reducing stress. The National Safety Council honors June as National Safety Month, and in the second week of June, the focus is on Wellness.
Sleep, Stress and Safety
The National Safety Council has identified several critical areas related to safety, including: Fatigue, Driving, and Slips, Trips and Falls. Each of these areas are related to getting adequate sleep and having clear focus and good coordination – and these can all be adversely affected by stress.
Estimates from a variety of sources indicate that 1/3 of American adults do not get adequate sleep. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that workers who are sleep deprived are 70% more likely to be involved in work-related accidents, as sleepiness clouds thinking, slows reactions and diminishes the ability to make sound judgements. They note several major industrial accidents that are attributed in part to sleep deprivation, including Three Mile Island and Chernobyl (at 4 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.), the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill, and the space shuttle Challenger – managed by flight center staff who were operating on very little sleep and working irregular hours. These are big examples, but one Swedish study of nearly 50,000 people determined that people with sleep problems were two times more likely to die from a work-related accident than those who were well rested.
The National Safety Council recognizes that stress also has a huge impact on safety. Safety trainer Michael Topf reports negative safety effects of stress are alarming, particularly in the transportation and construction industries. Compounding the issue is that many people respond to stress by turning to drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms, which can further reduce the ability to concentrate and make sound judgements, in addition to compromising physical coordination and balance. Also, those who try to compensate for inadequate sleep may turn to stimulants, which can result in periods of hyperactive jitteriness followed by sleepy slumps.
Sleep, Stress and Wellness
Sleep is crucial to our well-being, mentally, physically and emotionally. Sleep helps us to synthesize hormones, consolidate memories, grow muscle, repair tissue, and restore and rejuvenate. It’s also critical for maintaining a healthy appetite and weight, and for proper immune system functioning.
Ideally, we should all get a minimum of 7 hours per night. Some good pointers on getting better sleep are shared in a recent blog by Dr. Gregory Jantz.
Rather than turning to drugs or alcohol if you find it hard to get enough sleep, natural supplements can provide a safer option for assistance. Our Healthy Sleep Blend of herbs in At Ease PM help promote restfulness and relaxation, along with supportive vitamins, minerals and amino acids. If daytime stress is an issue, At Ease could be beneficial. Another helpful supplement would be trueEnergy™, which delivers nutrients to support physical and mental energy. You can even carry a trueEnergy Aromatherapy Travel Diffuser in your pocket or purse, which can serve as a handy pick-me-up to avoid drowsy driving, for instance.
We hope you stay safe and well all summer, and all year long.