Sleep is a key element in keeping a healthy and productive work-life balance, while significantly reducing healthcare utilization and costs. Organizations willing to invest in improving their employees’ sleep – gain a competitive advantage.
So, how to prioritize sleep in the workplace?
Generate a conversation about sleep
Increase sleep awareness among supervisors and employees alike, by offering educational materials on sleep and its benefits, as well as lectures and workshops surrounding sleep improvement strategies. Consider introducing sleep monitoring devices or health and sleep-related wellness programs (classic face to face programs or digital alternatives). Research shows that taking a proactive approach to sleep health within the workplace can lead to a rapid transformation and significantly reduce presenteeism and absenteeism.
Support a work-life balance, Limit work hours
Discourage excessive work-related emails and phone calls after hours to maintain a healthy separation between work and home.
Support reasonable workload and work hours
In contrast to common belief, long work hours and rotating/irregular shift schedules are linked to lower productivity, reduced sleep quantity and quality, and increased fatigue. A well-rested workforce will be more productive, efficient and satisfied than an overworked one.
Encourage outdoor breaks
The natural change in sunlight intensity informs the brain when it’s time to be awake and alert and when it’s time to become sleepy and ready for bed. Encouraging employees to go outdoors (e.g., on a coffee or lunch break) helps to regulate their levels of wakefulness and sleepiness in a favorable way. Additional options may include utilizing smart indoor lighting systems to improve daytime arousal levels, reduce fatigue, and boost mood.
Promote decaf beverages and snacks
Caffeine is a stimulant that typically remains in the body for 3-5 hours. Consuming more than 400 mg of caffeinated drinks a day (approx. 2-3 cups of coffee) or during the evening hours can disrupt one’s sleep. Therefore, reducing the amount of caffeine consumption would be a welcomed change.
Promote physical activity
Exercise has been repeatedly linked with increased sleep efficiency and duration. Some organizations are now offering on-site activities such as yoga or even a gym to help their employees promote a healthier lifestyle (including better sleep).
Offer flexible work times
When possible, offer flexible work times. This will enable employees to work when they are most focused and productive, depending on their natural circadian rhythm (i.e., morning persons vs night owls).
Encourage sleep disorder screening
Support screening and evaluation of sleep disorders via employees’ health insurance plans; make them aware of it and consider treatment options. Improving sleep may lead to better job performance (e.g., fewer mistakes and better decision making) and reduced healthcare utilization.
Recognize shared responsibility
It’s important to understand that making sleep a priority is a shared responsibility, with employers making active efforts to promote and enable healthy sleep in their workforce, and employees committing to adopt better sleep practices and behaviors.
The dayzz solution
Take the first step to changing the sleep culture in your organization by implementing the dayzz sleep solution.