More businesses including ‘sleep’ in their wellbeing strategy

  Stress is the most common reason for poor sleep   A growing number of employers are treating employees that suffer from sleep deprivation in the same way they would someone with an illness, according to RedArc Nurses. All employers should be aware that their employees’ poor quality or quantity of sleep is within their jurisdiction, but can be tackled via both physical and emotional support.   The UK economy lost 200,000 working days a year to sleep deprivation last year, costing £40bn or 1.86% of gross domestic product.   Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc, said at the extreme end of the scale employees who are lacking in sleep are susceptible to workplace accidents, which can be hazardous for people who operate machinery or drive work. “At the other end of the scale, anyone who is sleep deprived is more prone to make mistakes and poor decision-making, which ultimately can have an impact on the individual’s productivity and performance – as well as that of the employer. This in turn can lead on to more serious issues such as work-related stress, anxiety and absenteeism.”   Excerpt from Health Insurance Daily, read the full report here.   Sleep or lack of it is one of the most common 21st century health complaints.   Our 24-hour lifestyle has many benefits, but it also means many of us are working unusual hours and have less time available for sleep. In addition, few of us appreciate just how important sleep is to ensure a healthy life.   Recommendations: There are many different views as to how much sleep we need – six to eight hours is often quoted, but some of us need less; and some more. The simplest answer is that you need enough sleep to feel refreshed in the morning and stay awake and alert throughout the day.   Many effects of a lack of sleep, such as feeling grumpy and not working at your best, are well known. Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy. It’s now clear that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life. A variety of factors can cause poor sleep, including health conditions such as sleep apnoea. But in most cases, it’s due to bad sleeping habits.   Top tips:
  • Relax your mind. Practice this for ten minutes each night. Breathe, using your abdomen not your chest, through your nose for three seconds, then breathe out for three seconds. Pause for three seconds before breathing in again. Some people find that lavender oil, valerian or other herbs help them to sleep.
  • Write down your thoughts, to do list and/or worries. This will help clear your mind and reduce worry.
  • Get up if you find yourself tossing and turning. Abandon the bedroom and find something enjoyable and absorbing to do. Jigsaws are perfect. Don’t go back to bed until you begin to feel sleepy.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. Just be careful not to do it close to bed time as exercise produces stimulants that stop the brain from relaxing quickly.
  • Create a calm bedroom environment.Avoid turning it into an entertainment centre with televisions, computers and stereos.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. If you feel you haven’t slept well, resist the urge to sleep in longer than normal; getting up on schedule keeps your body in its normal wake-up routine.
  • Most of us have a natural dip in alertness between 2 – 4pm. A 15 minute nap when you’re tired can be a very effective way of staying alert throughout the day.
  • See a doctor if your problem continues – most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.

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