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Struggling this Sleeptember?

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Are you reading this whilst consuming your third coffee of the day and counting down the hours until you can jump right back into bed? If so, you might be one of the 92% of people who get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night.

A recent study by Nuffield Health, ‘Healthier Nation Index 2023’, which surveyed 8,000 UK adults, highlighted that in fact Brits are getting 5.91 hours of sleep a night, a stat which has decreased over the last few years.

The survey revealed that those in the 45-54 year age bracket look to have the worst quality sleep, with those in HR professions the least likely to rate their sleep as good. 

Poor quality sleep has a huge impact on employee productivity, with 37% of respondents agreeing they were less productive after a poor night’s sleep. Poor sleep can also have a negative impact on mental health and emotional wellbeing, both of which can affect performance at work.

Luke Cousins, Physiology Regional Lead, at Nuffield Health has this to say about the results of the survey: “There still exists a vital need for employers to be more attuned to the sleep needs of their staff and the potential role it has in improving employee physical and emotional wellbeing if businesses prioritise its importance’’

How can employers offer support? 

  • Encourage Time Management: Encourage employees to manage their time effectively to prevent excessive late-night work. Implement time management tools and techniques that help employees prioritise tasks and meet deadlines without resorting to late-night work sessions.

  • Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Employees who struggle with work-life balance often find it challenging to prioritise sleep. Employers can foster a culture that emphasises the importance of disconnecting from work during non-working hours. Encourage employees to use their annual leave days and offer resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to support their mental well-being.

  • Create a Comfortable Work Environment: A comfortable work environment can positively impact sleep quality. Ensure that the workplace is well-lit during the day and dimly lit in the evening to promote circadian rhythm alignment. Comfortable seating, ergonomic workstations, and noise-reduction measures can also contribute to better rest during breaks and downtime.

  • Encourage Physical Activity: Regular exercise can promote better sleep, so consider offering gym memberships, fitness classes, or on-site workout facilities. Encourage employees to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines, which can help them fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.

  • Offer Stress Management Resources: Stress and anxiety are common culprits behind poor sleep. Employers can provide resources such as stress management workshops, mindfulness meditation programs, or counselling services to help employees cope with stress in healthier ways.

  • Support Remote Work: Remote work can provide employees with greater flexibility to manage their sleep schedules. Offering remote work options, even if only on occasion, can help employees avoid long commutes and better allocate their time for sleep and work.

  • Lead by Example: Lastly, employers should lead by example. Demonstrating a commitment to work-life balance and prioritising sleep can set a positive precedent for the entire organisation. When employees see their leaders valuing sleep, they are more likely to prioritise it as well.

Check out another of our blogs for advice on supporting employee wellbeing: