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THRIVEx Keynote Spotlight: Dr. Matthew Walker on Sleep, Health and Productivity

June 3, 2020 / Corporate Wellness

Written By: Jordan Dunne

Don’t miss Dr. Matthew Walker’s keynote session, Why Sleep? on Tuesday, June 9th as part of our month-long virtual THRIVEx event this June 2020. Space is limited! 

Over the last few months, we’ve endured many changes to our daily routines, with most of us spending more time at home and some of us looking for ways to fill that extra free time. On the surface, it seems like it would be easy to use this extra time to catch up on sleep. But COVID-19 has disrupted more than just our commute, bringing new stressors, anxiety and even sleepless nights. Those on the frontline are working longer hours, while those who are working from home are struggling with work-life balance, feeling the need to be always-on, and both are losing sleep and experiencing higher levels of stress as a result.  

Now more than ever, we need the immune-boosting, stress-reducing effects of quality sleep each night to keep us healthy and resilient in the face of all of this change. And no one knows this better than renowned sleep expert and THRIVEx keynote, Dr. Matthew Walker.  

A scientist, author, and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkley, Dr. Matthew Walker’s research examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease. Through COVID-19, Dr. Walker has emphasized the importance of sleep on our immunity and ability to manage stress. In April 2020, he recorded a virtual TED Connects episode, discussing why sleep matters now more than ever. We had the opportunity to ask Dr. Walker a few questions before his keynote session this June.  

Why are you excited to join THRIVEx? 

Dr. Walker: It is increasingly clear that, for our workforce, less sleep does not equal more productivity. Quite the opposite. To see such a big organization recognize the fundamental importance of health and wellbeing is something I’m thrilled to be a part of. 

Since you’re juggling a packed schedule, how do you prioritize your own sleep schedule and ensure you get the shut-eye you need?  

Dr. Walker: I do prioritize my own sleep. To do this, I: 

  1. Give myself a little more than an 8-hour sleep opportunity each night,  
  2. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time weekdays and weekends,  
  3. Have a wind-down routine each night, and  
  4. Keep my bedroom cool and dark.  

But I’m no poster child of sleep perfection. Like everyone, I can have my bad nights. Still, I do place sleep at the center of my own health equation.

If you’re struggling with sleep as a result of the changes COVID-19 has brought to your day-to-day living, numerous organizations have released helpful guides to better sleep during COVID-19, including Johns Hopkins and the National Sleep Foundation. You can also find resources for stress management, sleep health, nutrition, staying active, and more in our COVID-19 wellbeing guide for employers.

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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