How Employers Can Help Workers Sleep Better

Well-rested workers are healthier, happier, and more productive.  It obviously benefits employers to help workers get a better night’s rest, and a new study has revealed how they can help.

Results show that in most studies, employer-sponsored efforts to encourage improved sleep hygiene and healthier habits have yielded improvements in sleep duration and sleep quality, as well as a decrease in self-reported sleepiness complaints. While the most common workplace interventions were educational programs emphasizing sleep hygiene or fatigue management, other interventions included napping at specific times before or after work, urging increased daytime activity levels, modifying workplace environmental characteristics such as lighting, and screening and referral for sleep disorders treatment.

“These studies suggest employer-sponsored efforts can improve sleep and sleep-related outcomes,” said lead author Nancy S. Redeker, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN from the Yale School of Nursing in Orange, Connecticut. “Improving sleep also may lead to better quality of life and decreased absenteeism from work.”

The review was conducted by representatives of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Sleep Research Society (SRS) as part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a five-year cooperative agreement that concluded in 2018.

The authors offer a long list of workplace strategies that employers can implement to promote healthy sleep among their workforce. These strategies include:

  • Setting limits on the number of hours worked per 24 hours and per 7-day period
  • Establishing a minimum of 10 to 11 consecutive hours off from work per 24-hour period for workers to obtain at least 7 hours of sleep
  • Providing a sleep education program for all employees
  • Promoting the use of short naps during work breaks
  • Establishing fatigue risk management systems
  • Establishing a system to facilitate workers with sleep problems seeing a health care provider or an accredited sleep disorders center
  • Modifying environmental factors, such as lighting, to promote worker well-being and alertness

According to CDC data, only 65% of adults report getting the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep on a regular basis. Chronic insufficient sleep is estimated to cost the U.S. economy more than $410 billion annually due to workplace repercussions such as absenteeism and reduced productivity.

“Sleep deprivation contributes to accidents and injury in the workplace and other settings, as well as absenteeism and poor quality of life,” said Redeker. “Our review suggests that providing strategies to improve sleep in workplace settings may improve sleep and possibly improve these outcomes.”

Source: News Release