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Sleep and recovery in the workplace

Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing.  However, 1 in 3 adults suffer from insomnia. 

Having poor sleep on a regular basis can put individuals at risk of serious medical conditions.  This includes obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  It can also increase their risk of mental health problems.

Organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of sleep deprivation on their employees’ health and wellbeing.  Many businesses have already taken practical steps to support sleep and recovery in their workplace.  It makes business sense to do this, as lack of sleep can impact on good decision-making, creativity, safety, productivity and competitiveness.

Sleep deprivation is often associated with shift work, or with working anti-social hours.  However, employees in any organisation, regardless of their working pattern, can experience sleep deprivation.  Stress at work and poor job design can also negatively impact on an employees’ quantity and quality of sleep, affecting their ability to recover well and perform at their best. 

Most of us need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.  Do your employees get enough?

Cost of sleep deprivation to businesses 

  • 200,000 working days are lost in the UK every year due to insufficient sleep.

  • Sleep deprivation is estimated to cost the UK economy over £30 billion a year.  This is attributed to lower productivity levels and higher mortality rates.

  • Those getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night have a 13% higher mortality risk than those getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

  • Working night shifts has about a 25-30% higher risk of injury than working day shifts.

Statistics taken from the ‘Sleep and Recovery Toolkit for Employers’, Business in the Community, 2018.

Resources to promote sleep and recovery awareness in the workplace

Here are some guides, websites and resources to help you to promote sleep and recovery in your workplace:

Business in the Community has partnered with Public Health England to produce the first ever Sleep and Recovery Toolkit.  This informative toolkit provides information, resources and practical actions that employers can take to maximise employer energy through effective sleep and recovery.

This informative website contains information on a range of topics related to sleep, including ‘the possible causes of poor sleep’, ‘things you can do to sleep well’ and ‘support for poor sleep’.  

This website contains loads of useful information on tiredness and fatigue, including sections on ‘why you might be tired all the time’, ‘common energy stealers’ and ’10 tips to beat insomnia’.

Take a look at the useful Sleep Apps that are recommended by the NHS. 

  • Sleep Diary (produced by the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre) 

This Sleep Diary can be found on the NHS Choices website.  Keeping a sleep diary can help you to track your sleeping patterns, which may uncover lifestyle habits that contribute to your sleeplessness.  The diary also contains ‘10 Rules for Improved Sleep Hygiene’ (which means doing things which are known to improve sleep and avoiding things which are known to disturb sleep), which are based on scientific research.  Making a small change could make a big difference to your sleep! 

The NHS Sleep Self-Assessment can be found on the NHS Choices website.  Find out whether you have a sleep problem by taking this short test to reveal your ‘Sleep Score’. 

This website includes a section on fatigue, particularly emphasising the health and safety risks associated with shift work.

This website explains the relationship between sleep and mental health.  It includes tips on improving sleep. 

Find out about the most common sleep disorders and how to treat them.  You can also download the ‘How to sleep better’ guide for free. 

Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do.  This website contains links to useful guides, such as ‘Driving for Work: Safer Journey Planner’, which can help ensure that your employees’ journeys are properly planned. 

Take a read of this interesting article on sleep.

The Health and Wellbeing Planner that is found on Staffordshire Connects is an excellent tool that your employees can use to find local (Staffordshire) and national advice, information and support on a range of health and wellbeing related issues, such as alcohol, healthy eating, mental health, physical activity and stopping smoking.    

They can use the Health and Wellbeing Planner to help them make some positive, healthy changes to their lives, by identifying what they want to achieve, what they can do differently to achieve their goal, and understanding what advice and support will help them along the way. 

As there is a close relationship between sleep and mental health, take a look at the Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace section for ideas on how to support your employees to improve their mental health. 

Get in touch

Let us know what you’re doing in your workplace on Sleep and Recovery Awareness by emailing Workplace Health.

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