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Denver Workers Struggle to Stay Awake

Life demands prevent getting enough rest


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Nodding off occasionally at work is nothing new, but it turns out workers are more sleepy in Denver than in most other cities. According to research by staffing firm Accountemps, Denver is tied for third with Indianapolis among the nation’s sleepiest cities, after Nashville and Austin. 

In an online survey last year, Accountemps asked, “How often do you work while tired?” and reported the results in October. The responses came from more than 2,800 workers age 18 years or older and employed in office environments in 28 major U.S. cities. Nationally, 74 percent of professionals said they work while tired very often or somewhat often. That figure was 80 percent in Denver. 

Christy Cole, the Denver branch manager for Accountemps, has several theories why office workers in Denver are a sleepy bunch. “The Denver-metro area offers many options for after-work activities such as outdoor pursuits, nightlife, entertainment and sporting events,” she says. “It may be that people are staying up later in order to take advantage of these activities.” 

These active adults may also be getting up early to squeeze in a workout before a full day of sitting at their desks. Of course, an active lifestyle is not the only factor related to lack of sleep. Cole points to the current business environment as another likely reason for all this nodding off. 

“Denver workplaces are a bit more competitive than they used to be,” Cole says. “We find that people are working longer hours in order to pursue career success and advancement. Less time spent with friends and family can create added stress, and people may be getting less sleep.” 

Even traffic plays a role. More people are moving to the Denver area, making traffic worse and commute times longer. “Workers may be coming in earlier/staying later in order to avoid high traffic times,” she says. 

For its part, Accountemps, a Robert Half company, offers tips on how to stay awake or to help staff stay awake. Employees should ask for help with delegating tasks, go for a walk or take a yoga class to recharge and not take their phones or laptops to bed. (According to the National Sleep Foundation, the blue light of the screen suppresses the production of melatonin. Those late-night texts aren’t helping either.) Employers should set a good example by working reasonable hours, meet with employees to discuss current projects and, the firm suggests, bring in temporary professionals. 

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Nora Caley

Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics.

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