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Poor sleep leading one in five to take sick days

One in ten workers has admitted to having accidentally dozed at their workstation, and 12 per cent said they had actively taken a 'power nap' somewhere at work, according to research by Sealy UK.

The health advantages of an afternoon nap are well documented, with studies saying it is more effective than caffeine at increasing alertness and improving verbal memory. A doze of just 7 to 10 minutes can apparently have benefits lasting up to 3 hours.

But snoozing at work is not something that is an accepted part of UK work culture. And if we're feeling tired, it seems that we're more likely to take the day off sick.

Sleep 'sickies'

More than one in five workers have called in sick due to a bad night's sleep, according to the survey of 1,000 workers by Sealy UK, making a potential cost to the economy of £453 million.

Almost a third said they woke up tired from sleep each morning - which is hardly likely to put people in the best frame of mind for a productive day's work, even if they don't take a sickie.

For some people, the problem is the quality of our homes. Lack of space - the UK has the smallest new build homes in Europe, a University of Cambridge study found - means having smaller beds. The standard British double bed allegedly gives each person less room than a baby has in a cot, which doesn't make for a good night's kip.

But for many of us, it's an inability to turn off from work, put the computer away, switch off our smart phones, and leave incoming emails until the next working day.

Going to bed too late without having switched off properly from work can raise stress levels and affect performance. Some studies have even suggested links to heart disease, anxiety, fatigue, depression and - poor sleep.

Acas publications and services

Acas has Help for small firms including step-by-step guides on How to get the best out of your staffand Absence.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and work with you to identify causes of absenteeism at work. See Health, wellbeing and managing attendance for more details.

Practical training is also available on related areas, including Absence management, Stress, Health, work and wellbeing and essential Skills for supervisors.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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