Do you get enough sleep? World Sleep Day offers advice for a proper snooze

Consultant suggests Chernobyl disaster may have been due to lack of sleep

World Sleep Day, insomnia, sleep patterns, proper sleep, productivity, road accidents, Chernobyl, Dr John OReilly

A view of the standard interior master bedroom, designed by Kelly Hoppen, of a UK based company, Pearl 75 motor yacht | Image: Nick Ansell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

It is estimated that the average employee loses 8.5 days of work a year due to poor sleep.

Today marks World Sleep Day, which hopes to being attention to getting a proper night's sleep.

Not only has poor sleep been linked with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, but also decreased productivity and concentration in the workplace.

Information from the World Sleep Survey by Big Health finds sickness absence and working-age ill-health - including poor sleep - is costing billions a year.

Poor sleepers - those who rated their sleep quality as below average - missed 14.6 days of work per year.

While 60% of these poor sleepers do not seek to fix the problem and did not consult their doctors about their bad sleep.

The British survey found the top three personal impacts of poor sleep are a decline in energy levels (60%), mood (48%) and relationships with others (35%).

These repercussions affecting their work with a reduction in: concentration levels (46%), ability to complete work (38%) and ability to stay awake during the day (27%).

'Sleep deprive and drive'

Dr John O'Reilly is a consultant in respiratory and sleep medicine in Aintree University Hospital.

"Work with driving simulators has shown that if people get less than five hours sleep it's almost the same as driving drunk", he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"So we're no longer drink and drive, we sleep deprive ourselves and drive - and that can be a risk with road accidents".

"A lot of the major nuclear accidents - Chernobyl, Three Mile Island - and other industrial accidents have been related to people deprived of sleep, working on night shifts and making the wrong decisions for things that would have been easy to solve when they were wide awake in the day".

In terms of the perfect night's sleep, Dr O'Reilly says: "You've got to make sure you have a regular wake time - and then you need to have cycles of sleep, which are about an hour and a half each".

"In terms of going to bed, it's important to make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet, that you don't have electronics on in the bedroom...and if you can't get to sleep within about 15 minutes rather than lie awake worrying - getting insomnia - it's better to get up and do something for a while and try again later".