Myza: Corporate Sleep Education Programmes

Why Sleep Is Crucial to Health and Productivity in The Workplace

The impact of sleep on wellness cannot be overemphasised. Adults require at least 7 hours of sleep daily to optimise health. Sleep duration of fewer hours is associated with a higher mortality risk, obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer and heart disease. Yet one-third of adults are not getting enough sleep and approximately 80% of people report sleep problems at least once per week.

The Sleep-deprived Employee

Fatigue affects everyone regardless of skill, knowledge, and training. Many of us have been conditioned to just power through our fatigue, regardless of the fact that our mental and physical health is being compromised.

In the workplace, sleep deprivation can negatively affect performance - productivity and quality – and relationships. It has a direct influence on people's physical and mental abilities needed to carry out even simple tasks.

Decline in Cognitive Performance

Research shows that sleep loss causes a significant decrease in many cognitive functions including creativity, divergent thinking, decision making, short-term and working memory, and execution of tasks, even if the employee regains alertness with the use of stimulant measures. It frequently results in decreased attentiveness with slower response times, which could all limit an employee’s ability to make proactive decisions. Sleep-deprived employees tend not to know how much the chronic sleep loss affects them and their performance at work. Because sleep deprivation is so widespread it is practically seen as normal, consequently, many employees often are not aware that a disorder is present, and most cases remain undiagnosed and untreated. This may promote a further decline in performance as the employer experiences even more hours of sleep-deprivation.

Poor Concentration

Sleep loss leaves employees exhausted and may result in poor concentration and a significant reduction in attention span. Sleep-deprived individuals tend to have difficulty maintaining focus on relevant details and keeping track of records and events. 

Risk-Taking Behaviour

Research shows that sleep loss reduces the inhibitory capacity of certain regions of the brain also increase the willingness to engage in risk-taking behaviour and a diminished regard for the consequences of such behaviour. What this translates to in the workplace is the tendency for sleep-deprived employees to make riskier decisions which may have potentially damaging effects on the company.

Negative Impact on Work Relationships

Sleep-deprived employees can be moody and less tolerant of co-workers' differing opinions, making them more prone to reactionary outbursts and other relationship-destroying behaviours. Work relationship problems impact the entire organisation and contribute to inefficiency and job dissatisfaction. They also lead to increased stress levels, which in turn can exacerbate sleep problems. Maintaining sleep is the most common problem in people with stressful jobs. However, once diagnosed, most sleep disorders can be corrected. 

Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep

Doing nothing to address fatigue in the workplace, costs employers a lot more than they think. According to a recent economic analysis sleep deprivation is costing UK employers more than £38 billion in economic losses annually and is resulting in 200,000 lost days of work each year. At a more local level, a fatigued employee costs an employer between £950 to £2,300 annually and up to six working days due to lost productivity. 

Need for Strategies to Curb Sleep Deprivation among Employees

Employers need to be more aware of the effects of sleep loss on employee health and the success of their businesses and that there is a need to incorporate effective strategies to promote rest and sleep at work.  

How Our Corporate Sleep Education Programme Can Help

The first step in promoting better sleep patterns among employees is to incorporate sleep programme initiatives into the workplace. This is where we can assist. Our Corporate Sleep Education Programme, created by Dr Allie Hare MA BS Med MRCP Consultant in Sleep Medicine* who leads our team of sleep experts, is grounded in evidence-based medicine and scientific research. The programme is specifically designed to educate employers/managers and employees on; how much sleep is adequate for optimal health, the symptoms of sleep disorders, and the measures that can be adopted to ensure better sleep.

Sleep evaluation is a crucial part of the programme and involves the use of certain tools for employees to evaluate their sleep. This will guide employers and our team of sleep experts in providing targeted advice and recommendations to each employee based on their results.

Recommendations and practical advice on providing additional sleep-promoting initiatives in the workplace, from newsletters, scheduled breaks and napping rooms to modifying workplace design, is also available, to assist employers in creating a more sleep-friendly working environment. Dr Allie Hare’s sleep programme has already been delivered to several major organisations including amongst others, Deloittes, UK Power Networks and Formula One.

To learn more about how we can help you to combat sleep deprivation in your company making your employees healthier, more stress free and productive, please email us at corporate@myza.co or alternatively please fill in our form.

*Dr Allie Hare is a consultant in Sleep and Respiratory medicine. She is the Secretary of the British Sleep Society and sits on the Board and Council of the British Thoracic Society, for whom she also chairs the British Education and Training Committee. She graduated from Selwyn College, University of Cambridge in 1999, and undertook postgraduate training at Imperial College London in 2002. She completed her postgraduate training in respiratory and general medicine in London at St Mary’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital. In 2013, Dr Hare completed a Master’s in clinical education at the Institute of Education, University of London and was awarded a distinction for her work on the assessment of clinical competence. As part of the prestigious Darzi Fellowship scheme, she has completed postgraduate training in medical leadership and management.

Dr Hare trained in cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia at the University of Oxford and at Edinburgh. Her advice on sleep has been featured amongst others, in the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Robb Report, the Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times and on the BBC. She speaks regularly in the corporate world on the importance of sleep for health, wellbeing and work productivity.