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THRIVEx Week 2 Highlights: Sleep, Chronic Conditions and How Daily Healthy Habits Impact Your Overall Health

June 10, 2020 / Corporate Wellness

Week 2 of THRIVEx put us to sleep (in a good way!). We heard from sleep expert Dr. Matthew Walker, the Virgin Pulse Insights Team and the Virgin Pulse Medical Team on the lifestyle habits that are essential to keeping us healthy through COVID-19 and beyond. (Hint: it involves catching more Z’s!) Let’s dive into our favorite moments. 

There is simply no aspect of your wellness that can retreat at the sign of sleep deprivation and get away unscathed. – Dr. Matthew Walker

woman waking up from a good night of sleep

Dr. Matthew Walker opened our eyes to the importance of more shut-eye with his session, Why Sleep?  Getting those recommended 7-9 hours is vital to things like learning, healthy aging, immunity and longevity. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, Dr. Walker recommends sticking to a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day—yes, that includes weekends. Did you know there is an optimal bedroom temperature for quality sleep? You brain and body need to drop their core temperature a bit in order to fall asleep easily and to stay asleep through the night, so a bedroom temperature of around 65-67°F is ideal. 

Still struggling to hit those 7-9 hours? Check out these tips from Matthew Walker. 

COVID-19 changed our world, but how much has it impacted our lifestyle habits? The Virgin Pulse Insights Team dove into the data and emerged with some interesting findings about our member’s activity, eating habits, sleep, app usage and more.  

For non-essential workers, stay-at-home orders and social distancing forced us to put our lives—and routines—on hold. It’s no surprised that physical activity has decreased around the world in 2020 when compared to 2019; however, Virgin Pulse members overall are still averaging more than the recommended 7,000 steps dailyWe’re sure the at-home exercise resources in our COVID-19 Health Hub helped some of our members stay active! 

While we saw some people working on nutrition or staying active, different people need different solutions.

person using phone app

  

  • 64% of members report that they are coping with the stress of COVID-19 by staying socially connected 
  • 58% of members report that they are keeping active to cope, with 49% using Virgin Pulse to do so  
  • 32% of at-risk members are requesting mental health resources  
  • 55% of well-adjusted members are using Virgin Pulse to maintain a daily routine 

COVID-19 has shown us just how great the disparities are in our healthcare system. It’s important for employers to understand how social determinants of health affect the health of their employees…These are things that we can no longer ignore. – Rajiv Kumar, MD 

COVID-19 has shone a bright light on the dark issues within our healthcare system. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Dr. David C. Batman and Dr. Gary Smithson discussed the major risk factors related to the coronavirus pandemic, from chronic conditions to mental health to social determinants of health.  

In the US, 6 of 10 adults are living with one or more chronic conditions that increase the risk of complications related to COVID-19, but conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity remain major issues beyond the novel coronavirus.  

When you look at the top risk factors and health impact of COVID-19, there’s significant overlap with where employers are already seeing health care costs rise. COVID is adding greater emphasis to the need to address the most prevalent and costly chronic conditions. – Rajiv Kumar, MD

COVID-19 is a wake-up call to address these preexisting issues, and employers have a vital role to play in kickstarting these necessary changes. By creating a culture that supports and empowers employees to prioritize their health and wellbeing in all areasemployers can begin to break down these barriers and reduce the health disparities within their workforce.  

Dr. Batman discusses how the isolation experienced during COVID-19 has impacted our mental, emotional and physical health.  

Next week at THRIVEx, we’re taking a deep dive into how this health crisis and, most recently, widespread social justice action is impacting people’s mental wellbeing. In a recent survey of more than 74,000 Virgin Pulse members following the pandemic, more than 75% of people said they’re experiencing negative impacts on their mental health. The fear of contracting COVID-19, disruption of routine, the uncertainty of the future – all now in addition to the recent events following the tragic death of George Floyd – make it clear that mental wellbeing is deteriorating around the world. We hit capacity in our first week and have added more seats. Reserve your spot and tune in next Tuesday for THRIVEx at 1-4 pm ET.

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