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Sleep Wellness for Farmers

Sleep Presentation 2017 – Farmer Sleep Wellness

No matter what season farmers are working. Once the crops are all in, it’s maintenance season and farmers are working 5 or 6 jobs all the time. While there are no sleep wellness programs specifically for farmers, there are several programs for similar jobs. Farmers often have different tasks and schedules making it difficult to determine one prescribed wellness program for farmers.

Bad Sleep is bad for the farm, life, and farmers.

Optimized sleep will help performance, productivity, health, and safety.

Main presentation points:

Sleep is important – taking care of yourself and sleep can help improve performance and keep you safe.

“Normal Sleep” is different for everyone, normal sleep goes through different sleep stages that allow your body to perform different functions.

Sleep disorders include sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm disorder, insomnia and disorders such as sleep apnea that cause bad or abnormal sleep.

The sleep disorders can have consequences that may seem unrelated but actually can affect brain development, anxiety, and depression, growth and muscle development. Sleep disorders can cause slow metabolism and weight gain. The immune system is also anchored in good deep sleep, so there is a higher risk of infections in people with sleep disorders.

The most common sleep disorder is sleep deprivation, getting enough sleep is crucial, that means at least 7 hours a night. Even if it 2 naps during the day, we recommend to get at least 7 hours of sleep a day.

If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your physician or a sleep specialist to get evaluated.

Farmers Experience

  • Long machinery operation times, with few or no breaks.
  • Business management and decisions
  • Long work hours
  • Unpredictable schedule
  • 24/7/365, little if any vacation or days off
  • Multi-tasking, complex decisions
  • Multiple Jobs
  • Very Physical

Professional Drivers

1/3 of CDL drivers have sleep apnea. CDL drivers have 5x accident and death rate if they have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Fatigue reduces reaction time and increases mistakes.

How do you optimize your sleep?

  • Get enough sleep (duration), 7 hours is the goal.
  • Align your circadian rhythm
  • Keep a stable sleep pattern regardless if weeknight or weekend night
  • Practice the best sleep hygiene
  • Optimize your sleep environment
  • Get rid of things that wake you up
  • Medical/Psychological evaluation if you have done this and still are sleepy with 8 hours of “normal sleep”

3 Main Sleep Disorders

Sleep Deprivation – Not getting enough sleep

  • Poor brain performance and maintenance
  • Poor mood and decision making
  • poor metabolism
  • Increase mistakes, accidents, deaths
  • Increase medical illnesses
    • Cardiovascular, endocrine, depression, obesity

Sleep Apnea – Stopping breathing at night

  • 2 Types: Central or Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • More common as we age
  • More common as we gain weight, BMI above 35
  • More common when on blood pressure medications
  • Based on your neck and mouth anatomy

Insomnia – Can’t sleep

  • Reaction to stress
  • Treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Ultimately, if you have sleep symptoms it’s important to talk to your doctor and learn more about sleep disorders.