Sleep & Successful Business
More than 40% of professionals report they often lose sleep because they can't get their job off their minds, and this figure rises to 60% amongst millennials. A major contributing factor is our 'always on’ culture, with 35% of UK workers admitting to checking their phone for work purposes immediately before sleep and as soon as they wake, inhibiting good sleep. (1)
And yet sleep is the cornerstone of positive wellbeing:
“Sleep improves every aspect of your health. Because sleep is the time when your body is repairing all of your systems, including brain function, it’s not a stretch to say that all aspects of health are improved from getting good quality sleep.”
- Chris Sandel, Work Well Being Associate
The damaging effects of too little sleep are well documented; from an increased risk of physical health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, to the strain on our mental health.
Why sleep is a boardroom issue
When it comes to the workplace, clearly sleep deprived employees do not make for happy and engaged employees. According to Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey 2017, 29.6% of employees sleep less than 7 hours per night and lose an equivalent of 4.7 productive days per year.
When we are sleep deprived, concentration is impaired, we are more likely to demonstrate greater risk-taking behaviours, communication is decreased, performance deteriorates and sickness increases (2).
One of the most comprehensive studies on the economic impact of sleep was carried out by Rand Europe, which concluded that the economic cost of tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether amounted to almost 2% of GDP. In the United Kingdom, this equates to around a £30 billion a year loss, attributed to lower productivity levels and higher mortality rates.
Employers also have a legal duty to manage risks from fatigue and sleep deprivation, irrespective of any of their workers’ willingness to work extra hours or preference for certain shift patterns.
How employers can support good sleep
There are many reasons why people experience poor sleep, and this changes throughout our lifetime. The causes are often outside of the workplace, and can be considered as either environmental & lifestyle influences such as excessive screen-time, exposure to sunlight, diet and nutrition; or internal influences, such as financial worries, stress, relationship breakdowns or bereavement.
Equipping employees with practical tools and insights to improve sleep can be invaluable, including breathing techniques, wind down rituals and how to manage energy throughout the day.
It’s also crucial to look inwards within the organisation to assess whether the demands of the job or the level of support or clarity an employee is receiving are contributing to excess stress and worry and impacting on sleep.
There are of course also some simple measures you can put in place within the office environment to support better sleep, such as encouraging breaks, ensuring exposure to natural light, promoting walking meetings, creating break-out spaces for rest and relaxation, and encouraging employees to take holidays.
Business in the Community and Public Health England launched a toolkit to help employers reduce the risk of sleep deprivation and boost productivity in the workplace. The toolkit aims to provide information, resources and actions that employers can take to maximise employee energy through effective sleep and recovery. The toolkit can be accessed here
Our Better Sleep workshop equips employees with practical tools and insights to improve sleep. To find out more, get in touch.
1. Accountemps 2018 survey of 2,800 people
2. BITC Sleep & Recovery Toolkit for Employers, 2018