Want a Smarter, Safer Workplace? Stay Alert!

sleep

"Better Sleep = Smarter, Safer Workplaces” is the theme for this year’s Sleep Awareness Week. The nationwide sleep health campaign is shining a spotlight on Australia’s worrying rates of sleep disorders, calling on employers to take action to help their workers both sleep better and feel more alert while awake.

Poor alertness is responsible for almost 10,000 serious workplace injuries and more than 25,000 serious road crash injuries each year, costing the economy billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and healthcare costs.

Sleep experts from the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) are working in conjunction with the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC) on several projects that address sleepiness in, and out, of the workplace. Science-driven, savvy advice stemming from these projects has been collated on the new WorkAlert website, a joint initiative of the Alertness CRC and Sleep Health Foundation; coordinators of the annual Sleep Awareness Week campaign. WorkAlert provides tips to employers, and employees, on workplace lighting, scheduling solutions, screening for sleep disorders and managing sleep, with specialist advice available for industries who employ night shift workers.

Much of the research behind the site has been led by MICCN’s Professor Steven Lockley.

“Light, for example, is a stimulant, and studies show that the light spectrum to which we are exposed makes a big difference in its benefits. Shorter-wavelength blue light is more alerting than other colours and so people working in spaces with brighter, blue-enriched white short wave lighting feel more naturally alert and are able to perform better. Many companies are considering changing their lights to save energy and we would like businesses to understand that if they choose the right light, they can add additional benefits to their bottom line with improved productivity and safety. We have also provided information on what everyday people can do to help themselves, including how they might change their lighting at home to help their family sleep better, as well as general tips to help prioritise sleep,” Professor Lockley said.

MICCN has a panel of sleep and circadian experts available for comment on sleep-related topics, including insomnia, depression, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, cognitive decline in the elderly, and improving sleep for those with brain injuries. As well as being leaders in their fields, these experts are well connected through the Institute’s industry and international partnerships with renowned institutions such as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and organisations such as Philips and Teva Pharmaceuticals. MICCN also has state-of-the-art facilities in place to support clinical research trials.

Background information

Watch the MICCN Sleep Program video.

Visit the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic website.

About Sleep Awareness Week

Coordinated by the Sleep Health Foundation, Sleep Awareness Week is an annual awareness-raising campaign that focuses on the general importance of sleep. This year, Sleep Awareness Week takes place on Monday 3 July 2017 – Sunday 9 July 2017, and will help to encourage smarter, safer workplaces through better sleep.

About MICCN

The Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) is the largest Institute of its type in the Asia Pacific, uniting over 200 world-class researchers with cutting-edge research infrastructure. We are dedicated to understanding the brain and mind; specifically in addiction, attention and memory, and sleep. Our research and education programs are delivered in collaboration with clinical and industry partners, and through our Graduate Education and Industry Centre, we are the only research intensive University to offer a program that directly links psychology and neuroscience graduate students to industry.

The MICCN Sleep Program

MICCN's sleep program researchers use a range of methods to develop and test innovative tools to accurately characterise sleep and circadian disturbances. This information is then used to create targeted treatment approaches to improve sleep and therefore the cognitive and mental health outcomes of the population.