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Tired workers 'cost economy £611m'

Sleep-deprived workers take six million sick days a year according to a survey, with the cost to the UK economy running to £611 million.

One in five workers surveyed admitted taking a "sickie" because of a bad night's sleep, according to the online poll of 2,044 people by bed firm Silentnight, who appealed for volunteers for research in a sleep clinic.

Only 13% of those polled said they slept peacefully, while of those kept awake regularly almost a third, 32%, blamed the thought of having to get up early the next day and 26% blamed money worries and work stress.

One-sixth of workers choose to catch up on sleep while travelling on public transport but 7% admitted to falling asleep while at their desk and 4% during a meeting. The survey showed almost half of people, 44%, never enjoy a lie-in - even at weekends - with most lie-ins lasting less than 30 minutes.

Problems people said were caused by a lack of sleep included decreased concentration levels, grumpiness and rows at home.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight's sleep expert, is searching for 10 people with everyday sleep issues to take part in a four-week sleep clinic with information and advice available for the public to follow online as the study progresses.

Dr Ramlakhan said: "Sleep is crucial to our health and well-being and it is clear from the findings that lack of quality sleep is making a real impact on people's lives - from absence from work, decreased concentration levels and arguments in the home. A few simple steps can make a huge difference to getting a good night's sleep.

"Switching off from work and social media channels an hour before bed, taking the time to unwind, eating a balanced diet and making sure that our sleep environment is as tranquil as possible are all positive steps in the right direction.

"The Sleep Clinic is aimed at educating people across the UK that a few simple techniques can help the nation get a great night's sleep every night."

More information about the sleep clinic can be found at www.silentnight.co.uk

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