A BD Live news report examines the effect of sleep deprivation on employees and the measures employers can take to ensure workers are rested.

Researchers based at hospitals with sleep laboratories have charted the effects of a lack of sleep. Short-term effects include less healthy food choices, a higher likelihood of road accidents and being prone to infectious ailments. The person may be less gregarious and more emotional. Memory and focus suffer, and, most seriously, a recent study in the journal Sleep linked one night without sleep to a loss of brain tissue.

Long-term effects are more alarming: the risk of developing cancer may increase; obesity risk rises abruptly; the risk of having a stroke quadruples; people are more likely to develop heart disease or diabetes; and the sperm count in men decreases.

Another study shows that less than six hours of kip a night significantly increases mortality risk.

What can company directors and managers do to ensure employees function at their peak during the working day? Some have installed nap rooms or energy pods that allow workers to catch up on sleep.

Get the full story at www.irishtimes.com