Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit one’s heart, weight, mind, and more. For Human Resources, this is extremely important to note because if your staff aren’t getting the proper sleep they need, their productivity, happiness, and efficacy at work can suffer immensely.
Many of us have suffered a sleepy, drowsy day at work, but staff who consistently suffer from sleep deprivation can become liabilities. As employees struggle to find the balance between work demands and life, sleep is often the first sacrifice.
During the week of 4th-10th July, we turn our focus to sleep for Sleep Awareness Week. As an employer, there are three big questions we should consider:
- What effect is the 24/7 workplace mindset having on employee sleep health?
- Is innovation being checked at the door? Employees who stop innovating may be too exhausted to put in that extra effort to do so.
- How can you leverage corporate health and wellness programs to promote healthy sleep habits?
A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine estimated that lost productivity due to poor sleep costs $3,156 per employee with insomnia, and about $2,500 for those with less severe sleep problems. Similarly, a Harvard study estimated that the annual cost of lost productivity at U.S. companies due to sleep deprivation exceeds $63 billion.
Sleep isn’t just about comfort; it’s about health and wellness, and it can cost your company dearly if it’s not tended to. Many things can be affected when we do not sleep enough such as:
- Behaviour – aggressive. antisocial, withdrawn, hyperactive, unable to control or regulate behaviour
- Emotion – Moody, depressed, anxious, stressed, uneasy, unconfident, irritable
- Planning – poorly organised, poor time managers, repeating grades, forgets lessons
- Concentration – inattentive, lack of concentration, falling behind in school
- Creativity – not working at full potential
- Problem solving – poor behaviour control and difficulty in social situations
- Complicated thinking – struggles with maths, sciences, languages, abstract concepts
- Motor coordination – less sporty, more accidents, clumsier
- Weight – being obese and overweight is more likely with less sleep
- Health – poorer immune system – sicker more often
- Learning – it is thought that sleep, particularly dream sleep or REM sleep, is necessary or storing certain types of memory, particularly more difficult memories such as mathematical concepts and language.
- “Sleep Hygiene”- this can be defined as habits that can help us to sleep or stop us from sleeping.
There are a few recommendations that you can pass on to your staff to help them develop better sleep habits for a healthier lifestyle (Source):
- No TV in bedroom
- No phones in bed
- No coke/caffeine, high sugar or high spicy food 3-4 hours before bed
- Ensure relaxing and regular bed time routine
- No vigorous exercise 1 hour before bed – it raises the body temperature
- Finish eating 2-3 hours before bed – digestion competes with sleeping – hot milk is OK
- Make sure the bedroom is comfortable (temperature, light, noise)
- Set bedtimes and wake times – try and keep these regular
- Learn to relax – deal with worry and stress
- Use a sleep diary to check how many hours you are sleeping – Are you sleeping enough?
Take this week to focus on sleep, and reduce the costs to your business and your employees’ health by ensuring your staff are sleeping well. HSG offers Better Sleep Workshops as a Lunch and Learn workshop, too. You can find more about our employee and Workplace wellness programs in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and More.