Getting good quality sleep on a daily basis has been proven to have a major impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
Failing to get enough sleep can negatively affect mental health, cause cardiovascular problems and greatly increase the risk of dementia.
Sleep gives the body the opportunity to repair itself from the stresses and strains of life, and provides a platform for people to function properly the following day.
Experts say that 7-9 hours is the optimum amount of sleep for most adults, with children requiring between 9-12 hours.
Formulating a sleep schedule, creating a welcoming environment in the bedroom and ditching electronic devices are amongst the ways that people can get a better night’s sleep.
However, many people fail to get the requisite amount of sleep and this can have a negative impact on their ability to function properly.
Read on as we take a look at sleep habits in different European countries and the effect they are having on productivity.
Lack of sleep costing UK dearly
A study by research firm Rand Europe showed that sleep deprivation is costing the UK economy billions of dollars every year.
Lifestyle factors such as psychosocial stress, a lack of physical activity and excessive electronic media use are amongst the factors impacting industries.
A lack of sleep is linked to lower productivity in the workplace and a rise in the number of working days lost due to employee absences.
Rand found that the UK was losing up to $50 billion of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to a lack of sleep.
The company calculated that if workers that slept under six hours started sleeping seven hours on a quality mattress it could add nearly $30bn to the economy.
The study also found that people who sleep on average less than six hours per night had a 13 percent higher mortality risk than someone sleeping between seven and nine hours.
Marco Hafner, a research leader at Rand Europe and the report’s main author, said: “The effects from a lack of sleep are massive.
“Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and wellbeing, but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy.”
France napping its way to productivity
Many sleep experts extol the virtues of power naps as a way of boosting productivity whilst also enhancing health and wellbeing.
France has started to embrace this ethos in recent times, with ‘nap bars’ springing up in major cities to facilitate this growing phenomenon.
Napping during the day has traditionally been frowned on in many European countries, but a change in mindset is driving the growth of the bars.
L’Oreal has recently switched on to the benefits of napping, utilising the mobile services of a Paris based firm to help boost productivity.
The ZZZen Truck is the brainchild of Christophe Chanhsavang who says it is revolutionising how companies are helping their employees to revitalise themselves.
“The truck provides two services – the first, a 15-minute session in a zero-gravity massage chair is very intense and helps people recover from stress or maybe depression, or just tiredness,” he said.
“The second service involves a virtual reality device, which allows clients to use mental visualisation in a form of meditation known as sophrology.
“Through the use of technology, it’s possible to reach more individuals and provide greater relief in a shorter amount of time, thereby making lunchtime nap sessions a practical solution for busy professionals.”
Spain trying to shake of the siesta stereotype
Spanish people are famed for taking afternoon siestas, but the modern reality is somewhat different to the stereotype generally associated with the country.
Research has shown that almost 60% of Spaniards don’t have a siesta, while less than one-in-five will infrequently have a midday nap.
Despite the outside perception that Spain spends a lot of time sleeping, studies have shown that they work more than some of their European counterparts.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Spanish people work nearly 1,700 hours every year.
By comparison, people in Germany work less than 1,400 hours annually but are generally perceived to be harder working.
However, there are plenty of traditionalists who believe that the siesta remains an important part of Spanish culture.
“There are countless studies that show that around 20-30 minutes of daytime sleep can contribute to a decrease in fatigue and an increase in concentration,” said Santi Perez Olano, senior marketing manager at Hotels.com.
“If the siesta can help improve productivity, perhaps it should be redesigned for modern life.”
Sleep and productivity – the final word
While sleep still varies across many European countries, it is fair to say that there is a common thread regarding how people view its importance.
Getting good quality sleep clearly plays a huge role in productivity and it is imperative that everyone.