National Workaholics Day: Taking Fatigue Seriously


July 5 is the day after late-night fireworks, campfires, and the celebration of our nation’s independence. It is also National Workaholics Day.

Today is dedicated to those who love to work and show this love by working around the clock — which may mean they fit in some extra work on Monday instead of watching the fireworks.

Though a strong work ethic is admirable, working extra-long hours, skipping lunch, and depriving yourself of sleep can be a dangerous combination for anyone in the workplace or on the road.

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60 percent of adult drivers – about 168 million people – said they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year. More than a third, (37 percent or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel.

Operating a vehicle when exhausted can result in injuries or death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.

Workaholics may experience fatigue that can lead to impaired work performance and increase the risk for work accidents.

With fatigue comes slowed reaction times, poor judgement and decision making, and the loss of situational awareness and control.

Here are some tips to help maintain a healthier work-life balance and reduce the possibilities of fatigue-related accidents:

  • Don’t skimp on sleep — The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours.
  • Take appropriate work breaks — If your employer offers short breaks during the day, take a few minutes to relax.
  • Eat lunch — Federal and state laws set forth specific rules about meal periods given to employees who work a set amount of hours.
  • Get regular exercise — Studies have shown that exercising actually increases your energy levels and reduces fatigue.
  • Take that vacation — The average American worker receives 13 vacation days every year, but 34 percent of workers don’t take a single day of that vacation in any given 12-month period.
  • Maintain a healthy diet — Eating well-balanced meals can help reduce fatigue and increase your overall health.

Giving 100 percent effort at work is not a bad thing, but over-working yourself can be unsafe for you and those around you. Workaholism affects an estimated 30 percent of the general population, so finding solutions to combat fatigue is important for everyone who considers themselves a workaholic.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and finding ways to avoid fatigue are important for any worker. National Workaholics Day is a time for you to consider how you can be safer in your work environment and on the road.