DEBT is a word most often associated with finance, but experts warn “sleep debt” is the one most people should be concerned about.
The term refers to the build up of fatigue people experience when they regularly deprive their body of the sleep it requires to function correctly.
Darren Jolley, owner of Bodiez 24-hour gym at West Ipswich, understands better than most the challenge of functioning on limited sleep.
The father of two said between his responsibilities at home and the gym, he sometimes functioned on as little as four hours sleep a night.
“My weeks can run to 70 hours sometimes,” he said. “It does affect your work performance for sure. I find when you have a busy week you get a bit irritable and you become less attentive to the everyday responsibilities.
“I have to tell my clients to do as I say not as I do – eat well, exercise and make whatever sleep you get a quality one.”
Fatigue and car accidents have been well researched, but doctor Greg Roach, from the Centre for Sleep Research, said the way we function during our work day is equally affected.
“For each day that you miss out on sleep your performance gets worse and worse,” he said.
“What a lot of people don’t know is sleep debt actually impairs your mood as well, which can be equally important at work.
“If you’re irritable or grumpy or short tempered, that will affect the way you do your job and how you interact with your colleagues.
“People’s capacity to deal with stressful situations is impaired and that in turn can affect everyone in the workplace.”
Sleep deprivation leads to poor concentration, short attention span, frustration and sometimes aggression.
You can recover some hours with a longer sleep on weekends.