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Better Sleep Month Survey Highlights Link between Sleep and Work Performance

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Employees are paying a high price for too little sleep when it comes to work productivity, according to new statistics from the Better Sleep Council (BSC). Respondents to the BSC's 2007 Better Sleep Month survey, conducted for Better Sleep Month this May, reported an alarming decline in quality of work, poor judgment and trouble retaining information as the top work-related consequences from lack of sleep. In fact, 44 percent said they were likely to be in an unpleasant or unfriendly mood -- all bad news for employers, employees and customers. "Some believe you can accomplish more if you spend less time sleeping, but limited sleep can affect every aspect of your life, including job performance," said Dr. Bert Jacobson, Better Sleep Month spokesperson and author of the new study Subjective Rating of Perceived Back Pain, Stiffness and Sleep Quality Following Introduction of Medium-Firm Bedding Systems. "In fact, sleep deprivation impacts your level of alertness, your productivity and your ability to socially interact with colleagues." Sleep to Succeed Studies estimate that sleep deprivation currently costs U.S. businesses nearly $150 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity. And Better Sleep Month survey respondents reported sleep deprivation impaired their quality and accuracy of work (31 percent), clear thinking or judgment (31 percent) and memory of important details (30 percent). "Our survey indicates that companies would be more productive and offices would be happier places if employees got more of the sleep they need," said Nancy Shark, executive director of the Better Sleep Council. "Anyone looking to improve their daily work performance could benefit by improving the quality of their sleep." Survey results also showed that tired employees are turning instead to quick-fix performance enhancers to remedy their sleep deficiency problem, including: - Drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks (33 percent) -Taking a nap (17 percent) -Going outside for fresh air (18 percent) Only 13 percent of Americans are willing to make the commitment to get more sleep in order to feel more awake and productive at work. Mattress Matters While research links quality sleep to enhanced work productivity, many Americans are losing sleep on mattresses that may no longer provide optimum comfort. For a good night's sleep it is recommended that your customers evaluate their mattress every five to seven years for comfort and support and replace if necessary. But survey respondents indicate that most consumers (50 percent) sleep on mattresses that are five years old or older, and 24 percent of those sleep on mattresses eight years old or older. According to a recently released article in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine titled "Subjective Rating of Perceived Back Pain, Stiffness and Sleep Quality Following Introduction of Medium-Firm Bedding Systems, Oklahoma State University researchers suggest that the quality of sleep is directly affected by the age of the sleep system. In fact, the study showed new bedding systems provided immediate and sustained benefits in sleep comfort and quality plus reduced back pain. "Sleep problems can be caused by a host of factors ranging from physical discomfort, stress and life-style dynamics," said Dr. Jacobson. "In our research, we found that for the average person, better sleep quality can be as simple as a new bed." Five Tips to Improve Sleep and Work Productivity As the OSU researchers point out, and as reported in Fortune (May), a new mattress significantly impacts the quality of sleep; further suggesting that consumers should regularly evaluate their mattresses for sufficient comfort and support. To get the sleep your customer need for a happier, healthier and more productive life, BSC recommends the following: 1.) Pay sleep debt. Getting even 30 minutes less sleep than your body needs can lead to accumulated sleep debt, which has both short- and long-term consequences for health, mood and performance, both on and off the job. It's important to schedule 8 hours of sleep each night (7.5 to 8.5 is optimal) and maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule, even on the weekend. 2.) Performance evaluation. Though your mattress may not show physical signs of wear, it loses comfort and support over the years. It's important to evaluate your mattress every five to seven years to ensure it still provides optimal comfort and support. Research shows that the age of a mattress directly impacts the quality of sleep. 3.) Bedroom business. The bedroom should be an uncluttered environment that is relaxing, comfortable and conducive to sleep and relaxation. Keep work, computers and televisions out of the bedroom! 4.) Kick the caffeine habit. Research shows that caffeine interferes with getting a restful night's sleep and waking refreshed in the morning. Avoid tea, coffee and soft drinks close to bedtime. 5.) Make the investment. You spend one-third of your life in bed. Be sure to invest in the best quality and most comfortable mattress you can afford to ensure a great night's rest for a healthier, happier and more productive you. For more information on Better Sleep Month or to download the Better Sleep Guide for simple solutions that can help improve the quality of your work performance by improving the quality of your sleep, please visit http://www.bettersleep.org/. Dr. Bert Jacobson, performance expert, researcher, professor and author of "Subjective Rating of Perceived Back Pain, Stiffness and Sleep Quality Following Introduction of Medium-Firm Bedding Systems," is available for comment regarding this study and the important role a mattress plays in the quality of one's life. Please contact Jeanette Casselano at 202.828.8833 or jeanette.casselano@fleishman.com for more information. About BSC: Established in 1979, the Better Sleep Council (BSC) is a non-profit organization supported by the mattress industry. The BSC is devoted to educating the public about the importance of sleep in maintaining good health and quality of life and about the value of the sleep system and sleep environment in pursuit of a good night's sleep. Survey findings are taken from a survey of 1,000 people, conducted by the polling company(TM), inc. from March 30-April 2, 2007. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.

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