HR Strange But True!
September 21, 2006

When it comes to sleep deprivation -- and correspondingly irritable, distracted, and aggressive workers -- Canada rules.

A study commissioned by furniture retailer IKEA found that Canadians are the worst sleepers in the world, according to the Canadian HR Reporter. And that can have serious consequences in the workplace.

"If you are not getting a good night's sleep you are likely to become irritable, lack concentration, experience quick mood changes, become more aggressive and generally more liable to feel depressed. If you are driving to work and have trouble concentrating or have a job that requires high levels of concentration there are obvious safety concerns," said Helen Driver, vice-president of research for the Canadian Sleep Society.

Only 53 percent of Canadians surveyed said they feel like they get a good night's sleep, compared with 79 percent of respondents in Switzerland, 73 percent in Norway, and 71 percent in Russia.

A separate IKEA-sponsored study found that, unlike the rest of the world, where men get less sleep than women, North American women are getting less sleep than men. Older Canadian women (55 years old and up) were found to sleep the least.

"It is possible that Canadians just aren't getting enough sleep and so they are still tired in the morning, or their sleep may be disturbed," Driver said. "Since the 1960s, on average, Canadians have been getting 1 to 2 hours less sleep per night."

Sources: The Canadian HR Reporter and

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