A new survey*, commissioned by Virgin Active Health Clubs has uncovered the lengths tired Australian workers will go to in order to catch up on sleep. Results show that a whopping one in three workers, an equivalent to more than three million Australians have taken a sick day to catch up on sleep, with a further one in five workers (21%) admit to finding a quiet place to doze off while at work.
The research also points out that Australians are keen to improve their lives with a massive 89% wanting to change their daily routine to achieve a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. The most common area in which Aussie workers would like to do this was more exercise (81%), followed by a healthier diet (66%) and more sleep (60%).
The Natural Sleep Reporter and Sleep Expert, Elizabeth Shannon commented on the findings, “Millions of Australian workers are underestimating the effect that lack of sleep can have on your body. In addition to reducing motivation and productivity at work, there are also many related health risks, such as increased stress and anxiety, weight fluctuation and sexual dysfunction associated with sleep deprivation.”
Results from the Virgin Active ‘sleep’ survey also showed that the average worker is getting about six hours sleep a night, approximately two hours less than the suggested eight hours. To add further fuel to the work/life balance debate, it was also highlighted that as many as 62 per cent of workers believe a regular 20 minute lunch time nap would make them more motivated and productive in the workplace.
Elizabeth Shannon is not surprised that Australians would welcome a daytime snooze with the majority of workers (63%) interested in a 20 minute lunchtime nap if there was a safe, comfortable and affordable sleep environment close to their work.
Luckily, Virgin Active Health Clubs recognise the tired trend and have entered the market with sleep pods – a comfortable, safe solution to catching up on sleep and a step in the right direction towards worker productivity.
Virgin Active opened its first Australian club in Frenchs Forest in December 2008, followed by a Melbourne CBD club opening on the popular Bourke St in September 2009. It was here Australians first got a taste of the Virgin Active sleep pod experience. One year on since the clubs launch, over 3,500 Melbourne workers have taken advantage of a quick 20 minute daytime nap, helping them recharge and stay alert.
“I’m a huge advocate of sleep pods and the effects that a regular nap can have on your health,” Elizabeth Shannon said. “With the correct ambient noises, 20 minutes of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep can equate to approximately 1.5 hours of normal sleep, quite impressive when it’s only a short period within the average lunch break.”
“I believe that if people made more time to take a regular nap, they would feel the vast benefits within a few days. For busy people, daytime naps are a brilliant way to clear the mind whenever it’s overloaded, and let the subconscious go to work. A quick snooze allows you to come back to tasks fresh, re-energised and with improved decision making, paving the way for sharper thinking and clearer insight,” Elizabeth Shannon said.
Officially opened in November 2010, the Virgin Active Health Club, Pitt St Mall Sydney has been specially designed to take a whole new approach to getting fit and feeling great. With a non-intimidating atmosphere, friendly, tailored work out plans, helpful staff and cutting edge facilities such as sleep pods, members will definitely be on the right path to achieving a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
Those who are keen to ‘work out’ with Virgin Active or would like further information on its new Pitt St club can visit www.virginactive.com.au/pitt.
* The independent survey was conducted nationally by Galaxy Research on behalf of Virgin Active in August 2010. A total of 1003 adults between the ages of 18-64 were surveyed across Australia.