5 Ways to combat sleep deprivation in employees

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Health Assured team

16 April 2019

On average, people in the UK get between 5.7 and 6.8 hours of sleep a night.


The Sleep Council recommends that adults aged 18-65 should get between six and nine hours sleep. Clearly, we simply aren’t sleeping enough. And the effects of sleep inertia and tiredness caused by sleep debt decimate productivity and general wellbeing.


Below are five ways you can encourage employees to sleep as much as they should:


Manage and monitor workloads

The feeling of being overworked stops people sleeping. You can’t settle down to a restful night’s sleep if you’re worrying about the insurmountable pile of tasks waiting on your desk tomorrow.


Talk to your staff if you think they’re taking on too much. Let them know that it’s fine to delegate tasks and ask for help, especially if their health is suffering. Make sure they know cover is available so they can occasionally take a day off to catch up on rest, and keep an eye on the tasks they’re working on—step in if you think they are struggling.


Flexible working hours

They don’t work for all employers, but if you’re in the position where you can, then offering flexibility with working hours can mean so much more opportunity for sleep. The most obvious benefit would be to those who have to take care of the school run. Even just an hour’s later start time will change a stressed, sleepless parent’s life.


Make sure there is a formal process for requesting flexible working time, and organise a rota so you know that you’ll always be fully staffed.


Remote working

Rail commuters face an average daily journey of over two hours, with times for bus and car journeys increasing year on year. Imagine the difference a whole 120 minutes would make to people facing that sort of commute. Allowing employees to use that time to improve their sleeping habits will help improve their general wellbeing significantly.


If you introduce remote working, be sure to address any and all risks associated with it. Your employees should use a secure VPN, encrypt any sensitive communications, and sign up to tight security policies. The extra stresses these features may bring will be nothing compared to extra hours sleep your team members will receive.


Dietary changes

It’s all too easy to try to beat back sleepiness with sugary, caffeine-rich energy drinks. The problem with these is that they only really work in the short-term — employees will find themselves exhausted and their productivity will be compromised after a couple of hours.


If you provide nutritious, healthy foods in your workplace, for example fresh fruit, slow-release energy bars, nuts and seeds, fresh, cold water, you’ll find that fewer people rely on energy drinks and coffee to get through the day.


Encourage good sleeping habits

Communication is key. Displaying promotional materials around the workplace such as posters, flyers and leaflets listing the benefits of a good sleep schedule can influence your employees. Emphasise the positives of good sleep; reducing health risks, making you more alert and creating a more pleasant environment for everyone.


Write and send an internal newsletter, via email or your organisations intranet. Use it to promote sleep support measures, share articles on good sleep practice, and make sure your employees are aware of the things you’re doing to make their lives that little bit less tired.



If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

0844 892 2493

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