We’ve all heard fellow employees say that all they need is five or six hours per night to function well the next day. But is it enough? And is the quality right?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep between seven and nine hours each night. Many of us don’t get it regularly. But sleep quality is as important as quantity – and just as many issues can arise when it’s lacking.
Promoting good sleep health in your company helps to demonstrate support of a healthy work-life balance. Employees appreciate the encouragement to go “offline” at a reasonable hour, and are more likely to adapt their sleep habits to recommendations like these if they understand the benefits to their job performance.
When deprived of the rejuvenating effects of sleep, the brain’s ability to process new information is compromised, and so are creativity, logic and judgment. All are necessary to get through a full workday successfully.
The immune system is typically one of the first in the body to shut down when we feel stressed. People often lose sleep over stress, as well. Headaches, especially migraines, are also commonly linked to people who have a lower quality of sleep, and are another hindrance to our productivity. Correlations have also been drawn between poor sleep quality and poor nutrition, which, in turn, can heighten the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Our bodies love to sleep, and no wonder. As we progress through the stages of sleep, we relax every muscle and repair some of the damage done during the day. Our blood pressure lowers and we restore the energy necessary to recharge our systems for another extended period of being awake.
A few extra hours of quality sleep each night replenish our physical and mental health and will create long-term benefits. Here are some practical tips you can recommend to your employees to get the process started:
- Create a sleep routine – go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. (And that includes weekends, since there’s no need to “catch up” on sleep if we consistently get enough of it.)
- Incorporate physical activity consistently into each day, but not within three hours of going to bed.
- Limit intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine in general, but especially during the evening hours. They work against our brain’s desire to fall – and stay – asleep.
- Make the bedroom a haven. Darkness, quiet, comfortable temperature and sleeping area are all essential to creating an environment for a great sleep.
- Turn away from the light – all light. Luminescent clocks, plug-in nightlights and personal technology like phones, tablets and computers tend to keep the mind in a state of constant awareness.
A good night’s sleep will help your employees do better and be happier and more productive on and off the job. When you help them understand the important role sleep plays in their lives, everyone wins.