Brighten-up: Sleep experts urge bosses to change their light bulbs

Richard Laycock 4 July 2017

Woman lying next to her partner in bed looking peaceful

LED lights could help businesses save thousands on power bills and lost productivity.

Switching from fluorescent to LED lighting can help a business with its electricity bills and be beneficial to the health of their employees.

These findings were illuminated as part of Sleep Awareness Week by the Sleep Health Foundation and Alertness CRC, who have launched a website called WorkAlert.

The website hopes to shine a light on how switching the from fluorescent to LED in the office can help with an employee's overall health.

"With our 24-hour society, more Australians are working shifts or getting less shut-eye, and suffering serious sleep problems like insomnia as a result,” said foundation chair and sleep psychologist professor Dorothy Bruck.

This lack of sleep and its follow-on effects have repercussions both inside and outside of work.

Every year, 10,000 serious workplace injuries and upwards of 25,000 serious road crash injuries are the result of poor alertness. It is estimated that each year these accidents cost the Australian economy roughly $5 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

The blue‐enriched white LED light bulbs can benefit both an employees alertness and performance.

“Their body clocks get confused and their alertness flags, which has a worrying knock on-effect for workplace productivity and injury statistics,” Bruck said.

Lack of sleep is a real problem in Australia. Only 5% of Australians adults are getting their recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night, according to a Nourished Life survey.

The survey found that 65% of Australians were struggling with sleep deprivation or disturbed sleep, with memory loss affecting 35%.

More shocking was that one in five Australians were so tired that they feel unsafe to drive.

This data backs research conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation earlier this year, which revealed that between 33% and 45% of Australian adults are sleep deprived most nights.

Sleep Awareness Week is not just for business owners. If you're an employee having trouble sleeping, the website may be able to help you with your sleep issues.

“We also provide information on what employees can do to help themselves including how they might change their lighting at home to help their family sleep better, and tips to help prioritise sleep,” said Alertness CRC sleep specialist Professor Steven Lockley.

If you're still having trouble sleeping a GP can refer you for a sleep study, be it at home or in a sleep clinic, which may be covered in-part or full by Medicare.

You may also be able to claim a CPAP or other sleeping aid as part of the health aids and appliances section of your extras health insurance policy.

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