How Can Employers Encourage More Sleep for Workers?
Healthcare professionals recommend that adults get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. But, sometimes getting enough sleep just isn’t possible for some people.
Did you know that insomnia, sleep apnea, and other disruptions in sleep patterns affect about a third of Americans?
Lack of sleep affects people in different ways and to varying degrees, but a few things remain consistent. Sleep deprivation reveals itself in several ways, including your physical and mental health. A person’s brain functions may even suffer.
Research also shows that those with interrupted sleeping cycles are more prone to chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia.
We already know how illnesses like the flu can affect your work. So, how does lack of sleep impact work performance?
Lowers Morale in the Office
Have you ever found yourself grumpy and irritable for no apparent reason only to realize that you didn’t sleep well the night before? Well, we all know that our emotions emit positive and negative energy which those around us sense. The same is true for the workplace.
When you walk into the office and are in a bad mood, your colleagues can sense it. Their immediate response is to put their guard up and maintain a physical distance.
You may also take your negativity out on others you come into contact with, like clients and customers. This has a profound impact on the work atmosphere and could cost your company from making a profit.
Reduces Productivity and Performance
Sleeping is your brain’s way of restructuring itself and categorizing new information. When you don’t get adequate amounts of sleep, your mind cannot accurately absorb and process information from the day. That info might be something new that you learned or day-to-day life experiences.
Alternatively, there’s a significant improvement in creativity and learning skills with a good night’s sleep of 7-9 hours. We’re better at discernment, concentration. Those hours of rest can also improve memory and problem-solving skills, even allowing you to manage emotions better.
Increased Physical Illness
As was already mentioned, your physical health is affected when you’re sleep deprived. The immune system is more susceptible, making you more likely to get sick.
A person with a physically demanding job will also have a higher chance of an accident at work. Your balance can be off, with slower reflexes and response time.
Employers know that these can cost the company precious time and money. Employees may need to take time off when they’re sick or if they’ve had an accident at work, among other reasons for absenteeism. Businesses have become acutely aware that the healthier their employees are, the happier their employees will be, and the more profitable their company will be.
Employers can encourage their staff to get enough sleep in the following ways:
Increase Exposure to Natural Light
If your office has windows, encourage employees to open the blinds to increase natural light in the office. Exposure to natural light automatically resets the body’s natural clock, as well as enhances mood in the workplace.
If your office doesn’t have windows, let employees know they can go outside for breaks throughout the workday. During the fall and winters months, Seasonal Affective Disorder may be common throughout the office. Encouraging that sunlight or time outside can help with the ailment.
Provide a Quiet Place to Nap
Some of the large corporations, like Capital One and Johnson & Johnson, have “nap pods” for their employees.
If you’re not a large organization, you don’t need to have these available for your staff. All you need is a designated room for naps. Perhaps it’s a large room with ample couches and recliners. Studies suggest that power napping refreshes the individual, as well as increases productivity and boosts mood.
Limit Work to Office Hours
Many business people take work home from the office. They spend those precious hours at night working on various projects or assignments. This may seem like a good idea and shows your dedication to your job, but in reality, it’s counterproductive.
Employees who are overworked tend to think less critically and are likely to be less productive in their work performance. When you bring work home, you’re not giving your brain a chance to unwind from the workday and relax, thus preparing for a good night’s rest. It could even lead to a feeling of burnout at work.
So, it’s critical to not respond to emails, texts, or phone calls after office hours. Keep your work at work; don’t let it interfere with your home life.
It’s understandable that companies cannot fully monitor their employees sleeping habits. What they can do is encourage employees to take time off when needed.
More importantly, CEOs, executives, and department managers can set an example for others to follow.
Are you looking for other methods to improve physical and mental health at your workplace? Passport Health can help! Give us a call at or fill out a contact form for more information.
Written for Passport Health by Sabrina Cortes. Sabrina is a freelance writer with a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgian Court University. She currently lives in the Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina.