By Lee-Ann Watanabe, Wellness Educator

Quality of Sleep

When asked about the quality of their life, sleep pattern is never brought up. In fact, when we interviewed our workplace wellness partners about their own sleeping habits, many were confused.

They didn’t know what good sleep meant. They had no idea if they were getting good sleep at all.

They didn’t know what good sleep meant. They had no idea if they were getting good sleep at all. And they were even more confused why we even asked about sleep. Isn’t diet and exercise good enough to live well? They curiously challenged.

Billions of dollars are lost annually worldwide to sleep-deprived work forces. Employers are now realizing how quality sleep can have a tremendous impact on their worker’s performance, like fewer sick days, improved mental attitude and well-being in general.

In comparison, as bleary-eyed employees line up in break rooms across America for their morning coffee, they are also starting to finally understand that the idea of sacrificing sleep, staying up late and getting up early is not something they can push through long-term.

Always Connected

In today’s culture of being accessible 24/7 by electronic devices, it is crucial that sleep deprivation not be underestimated. Yet, employers too often overlook this missing link in their wellness programming.

So, how can your company change that? The good news is, it’s all starts with creating a culture.

Create a ‘recharge’ room where office space deemed “electronic free” is transformed into a convenient environment for employees to meditate.

Start the conversation and talk openly with your employees about the benefits of sleep without being pushy or preachy. Provide your team with opportunities to explore sleep during work hours where nap time or rest time isn’t frowned upon or penalized; but, encouraged. Create a ‘recharge’ room where office space deemed “electronic free” is transformed into a convenient environment for employees to meditate. The ability to take a few disconnected minutes during a work day can relieve a great deal of stress and keep employee energy on the up.

Let’s face it

Improving the working lives of employees who spend more than half their waking hours at the office is critical. Communicate from the top down and create a modeling experience where if the CEO openly takes naps and meditates, then employees feel better about following suit. Even Ariana Huffington leads by example!

Organizations must begin to view sleep health as an integral part of successful wellness programming — for companies both big and small. Understanding that chronic disease, obesity, depression, cancer, diabetes and a host of other ills including mortality can be brought on by prolonged sleep deprivation should elevate the importance of a good night’s rest. Once people have the tools and information to modify sleeping habits, they can experience life-changing results within a matter of days and weeks.

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