The impact of sleep on employee performance

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Health Assured team

18 December 2019

According to a poll from Employee Benefits, 70% of organisations do not actively support employees in improving their sleep habits.


Sleep is an integral contributor to our general wellbeing. Aside from it’s various mental and physical health benefits, sleep can also help us feel more productive and focused throughout the day. But according to the latest figures, we aren’t getting enough of it...


Research from the University of Loughborough has found that three in four employees in the UK suffer persistent sleep problems, and over half (54 per cent) are unable to stay awake in the day.


With Festival of Sleep Day fast approaching on the 3rd January, there’s no better time for employers to look at new ways on how they can support their team’s sleeping habits, and in turn, improve their organisation in the process.


Risks of a sleep deprived workforce

It’s recommended that we all get seven to nine hours sleep a night to provide us with enough energy to get us through the working day.


However, research has found that in Ireland, just 34% of people are achieving this. Likewise in the UK, where the average Brit is missing out on the recommended amount of sleep by at least 100.6 minutes a night.

Here are just few reasons why sleep management should be an integral part of your wellbeing strategy:


Health risks - By sacrificing their sleeping habits, your employees will be more likely to suffer from fatigue, cold and flu symptoms, weight gain and even heart disease.

Productivity - Research from the RAND Corporation found that the UK loses 200,000 working days every year due to sleep deprivation.

Working environment - A lack of sleep can have dramatic effects on your employees’ emotional wellbeing, which in turn, can contribute to a negative working environment.


How employers can help

In a 2017 study, online job site CV-Library found that 82.5% of the Irish workforce blame workplace stress as a key cause of their disrupted sleep. In addition, according to Employee Benefits more than three-fifths (63%) of employers state that sleep is the sole responsibility of the individual.


Clearly, employers should be doing more to support their employees to get enough sleep and in turn, help them perform to their very best in the workplace. Here are a few examples...


Flexible working - Offering flexible working can do wonders for your team’s sleeping habits. For example, employees who have to commute earlier to avoid heavy traffic can sleep longer if they have a later starting time.

Education - Employers can help staff improve their quality of sleep by educating them about the dangers of the lack of it. Display promotional materials addressing the many myths concerning sleep and productivity, such as the idea that long hours equate to high performance.

Technology - If applicable, discourage the ability to send and receive emails after business hours. Not only will this create a company culture that promotes a healthy work-life balance, it will also reduce the amount of blue light exposure your employees will receive before they go to sleep.


In the short-term, putting work first and sleep second may help your team members hit deadlines and also display a level of commitment to their roles, however, the potential cost to their health and wellbeing, and to your organisation is much greater.


By developing a sleep management programme with some of the suggestions in this guidance, you will soon see a happier, healthier workforce, with increased productivity, performance and retention levels.



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

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324

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