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How to Help Your Employees Get More Sleep 

March 15, 2021 / Employee Engagement

Written By: Jordan Dunne

Are your employees getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep they need each night? We’re willing to bet that many of them aren’t. In fact, one in three adults in the United States are sleeping less than seven hours a night and half of Americans report feeling sleepy during the day.1  

With the drastic change in routine and stress levels that we’ve collectively experienced during the pandemic, a larger portion of your employees are struggling to get adequate shut-eyestudy from the University of Southampton in the U.K. found that self-reported insomnia – which affected one in six (~17%) of participants pre-pandemic – has significantly increased, affecting one in four (25%) individuals as of August 2020.  

While sleep might feel out of the realm of your responsibilities as an employer, educating your workforce on the importance of sleep and providing tools resources to help them improve their bedtime habits actually supports your organization’s bottom line. From missed workdays to inability to focus to suppressed creativity, poor sleep results in a $1,200 – $3,100 productivity loss per employee each year. But how can organizational leaders encourage their dispersed populations to prioritize sleep?  

Read on for some of our favorite sleep tips for a healthier, happier, more engaged workforce:  

Remind your employees that time spent sleeping is not wasted time. 

Many of us are logging on from home these days, blurring the lines between work life and home life. Without the daily commute, the physical workplace environment and the routine that separates productive time from down time, remote working populations are struggling to shut down for the day.  

Communicating with your employees about the importance of taking a break from work – both midday and after hours – is vital to helping your employees sleep better. Letting your people know that they don’t have to be logged on and ready to go at all hours will help ease stress surrounding work, free up time for a relaxing evening routine and will enable your workforce to show up energized and ready to tackle their workload each day.  

Give them the resources they need to sleep well.  

Your workforce is diverse, meaning that each employee has a different relationship with sleep. Factors like socioeconomic status, the home environment, family history, culture, underlying mental health issues, stress outside of the workplace and more impact sleep patterns in unique ways. Research has shown that racial disparities exist in the number of hours of sleep individuals get each night and sleep-related health issues like sleep apnea, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity.  

While you can’t control what goes on outside of work, you can meet your employees where they’re at by offering up a variety of tools and resources to help them improve their sleep routines. Begin by sharing educational materials with your workforce that focus on the importance of sleep, how to establish a nighttime routine and tips to manage stress. To combat sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep-related health problems, connect your employees with local healthcare providers within your organization’s health insurance networkFor shift workers, leaders should place limits on the number of hours worked in a 24-hour period to prevent long periods of sleep deprivation.  

Check out Dr. Matthew Walker’s expert tips for better sleep! 

Center your workplace wellbeing efforts around sleep. 

Sleep is essential to one’s overall health and wellbeing, making it acritical component of your organization’s employee wellbeing program. Go beyond simply offering tips on how to get a good night’s sleep and address the root causes of sleep loss. Diets that lack nutritional quality, mental health issues like stress, depression and anxiety, chronic health conditions, tobacco use, substance abuse and insufficient physical activity can all negatively impact one’s ability to sleep well.  

Building a robust wellbeing ecosystem that includes health-promoting tools like digital therapeutics, on-demand 1:1 health coaching and next step consults, mindfulness tools, telenutrition, virtual fitness and smoking cessation enables employees to access the tools that are most relevant to them, whenever and wherever they need them. Your organization can also launch a company-wide wellbeing challenge centered around sleep-related healthy habits to motivate your people to engage with your employee wellbeing platform for sleep support. 

Set your workforce up for a healthier tomorrow. Discover how our unified, simplified Homebase for Health™ approach makes it easy for your dispersed workforce to connect with the tools, resources and company initiatives they need to sleep better, get healthier and arrive to work ready to perform. Request a demo today. 

 

Sources: 
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-facts-statistics 

 

About The Author

Jordan Dunne is on the marketing team at Virgin Pulse, focusing on social strategy and health and wellbeing content. Outside of work, you can find her at the gym, hosting trivia, taking photos of food, or snuggling up on the couch with her dogs.

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