A third of British workers are suffering from poor sleep by 'putting their jobs before health'

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UPDATED:

15:04 GMT, 1 April 2012

One in three Brits are putting their jobs before their health and not getting good enough sleep, research revealed today.

According to the study, some suffer from such poor sleep they experience a sense of drunkenness at work.

Some employees get less than five hours sleep a night and only one in seven feels completely refreshed when they wake up.

A study by Vielife, the health and productivity firm, found some workers are so tired they experience a feeling of drunkenness

A study by Vielife, the health and productivity firm, found some workers are so tired they experience a feeling of drunkenness

The study also found more women have poor sleep than men.

The alarming findings were from self-assessments completed by 38,784 staff working in the UK.

They were staff at firms such as telecoms firm O2, drugs developer Quintiles and medical technology manufacturer Medtronic.

A third were dissatisfied with the amount and quality of their sleep, with 8.4 per cent saying they were 'very unhappy' with it and another 24.4 per cent describing themselves as 'unhappy'.

When asked how they felt 30 minutes after getting up, only 15.5 per cent said 'refreshed'. Of the others, 3.3 per cent said they were 'exhausted', 24 per cent said 'unrefreshed' and 57.2 per cent were still 'a little tired'.

While experts say that everyone should ideally get seven to eight hours sleep a night, only 38.5 per cent of the 38,784 respondents did so.

Employees of mobile phone giant O2 were among those taking part in the survey

Employees of mobile phone giant O2 were among those taking part in the survey

More had between five and seven hours (45 per cent) and 5.4 per cent existed on less than five hours, though a lucky 10 per cent reported sleeping for eight to nine hours and one in 100 enjoyed more than nine hours.

When researchers combined those results to give each respondent an overall 'sleep score' out of 100, some 33.8 per cent got a mark of less than 30 – the lowest category.

That means someone either has, or is at high risk of developing, a sleeping problem.

Dr Tony Massey is medical director of
Vielife, the health and productivity firm that carried out the
assessments between 2009 and 2011.

He told The Observer: 'This research is telling us that a large number of working adults, one in three in the UK, has a sleeping problem.

'A very concerning number of British workers get too little sleep.'

The problems faced by at least half and up to 80 per cent of these one in three are so acute that their GP could diagnose them with a sleep disorder, he said.

He had expected to find about one in 10 employees suffering such chronic sleep problems 'but this widespread lack of sleep is beyond what I'd imagined'.