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The three fields of work most susceptible to sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is an ever-growing problem in the workplace.

But according to one expert in the area, there’s three specific fields of work which are more conducive to a lack of sleep.

Alfred Hospital’s head of sleep Professor Matt Naughton says people who work in transport, healthcare and IT are most likely to not get a sufficient amount of sleep each night.

“The medical area has had a lot of internal assessment and a lot of the times which doctors work have cut back enormously,” he said.

“Junior doctors now have major restrictions about the number of continuous hours they can work.

“When I was a junior doctor, we’d work 72 hours starting on a Friday morning and finishing on a Monday night.”

St James’s University Hospital’s specialist on fatigue Dr Mark Elliott says there’s now a Europe-wide directive to combat the problem.

“We have a European working time directive that applies to everyone, including doctors,” he said.

“I don’t think you can work for longer than 12 hours at any one time and then you need to have a certain amount of time off.

“You can only work 48 hours per week but the bottom line is people can’t work for prolonged amount of time without enforced rest.”

There’s a clear correlation between a lack of sleep and accidents on the roads and Professor Naughton told Neil Mitchell said it was a particular problem on rural roads.

“About one in three rural car accidents are fatigue-related,” he said.

“For ever fatal collision, there’s about 10 non-fatal collisions when there’s some form of injury sustained by one of the drivers.

“We’re not getting enough sleep as a community and in addition to that, we’re working more peculiar hours.

“We’ve got to deal with that but we’ve got to be very cautious about rostering and really try to encourage the importance of sleep.”

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